Critical thinking for the SAT


Another way for students to prepare for the SAT is by taking the SAT class every Wednesday after school from 6:30 to 9:00 P.M. Students attending the class were given books thicker than most history textbooks for studying outside the classroom.

Scott Daniels, Author

Many students try to prepare for the SAT by their own means, but are still caught off guard by the test when push comes to shove. For this reason, the SAT classes were formed to provide specific lessons regarding what would be on the test, and strategies for completing it within the given time limit. It costs $400 dollars to take the class, leaving some students asking themselves if it’s even worth it, and others if they’re missing out.

Each Wednesday after school at 6:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M., lessons commence in two different classrooms led by two rotating teachers. In total, there are only seven classes, so seven Wednesdays after school doesn’t sound like too much of a hassle. However, most students are already burnt-out from rotating between seven different classes during the day where teachers have to cram a lesson into 45 minutes. All of that, just to go back and sit in one classroom for almost three hours. That may be a nit-picky criticism, but upon delving deeper into the issue, can you see the problems that the scheduling for the SAT class causes.

The timing for the classes can interfere with a student’s other activities such as work hours, after school clubs or study time for other upcoming tests. An argument for that issue could be that it is the student’s problem to decide what their highest priority is. That argument falls apart, however, when choice is actually brought into the matter. Some students may not have a choice to leave work, or it may be a necessity for them to be there for their club such as a game or competition. Missing even one class could mean wasting almost $60 worth of a lesson. That fact leads into another question, being if those lessons justify their cost.

The content of the lessons themselves focus on Mathematics and English literature. What a lot of students don’t realize, especially for the math portion of the SAT, is that the test contains the  essentials, or lessons from previous years like algebra I and geometry. Students could easily have forgotten about most geometry formulas or certain uses of punctuation like colons or semicolons, not giving them a second thought to study for it. Lessons like those are vital to achieving a high score on the SAT, yet the execution of those lessons diminish their impact, meaning the lessons are taught (eventually), just not taught effectively.

Both sections have offensive and defensive strategies. These “strategies” are the first wall students tend to hit in this class because each strategy has an acronym that you are supposed to remember for when you are taking the SAT. The problem lies in the fact that these acronyms are numerous, causing some letters in those acronyms to be forgotten or confused with others, and form words irrelevant to anything on the SAT. It’s better to just make a habit of executing a few of those steps for tackling math problems or passages on the test. The steps are excellent for correctly completing the process of a problem, but without the proper knowledge of the subject matter itself, they’re useless.

This is why the SAT class is like a double edged sword. The effort you put into the class is the reward you get out of it, but there is only so much effort you can possibly put in. There’s only so much both you, and the class teachers can do to increase the chances of a good score because the test is too difficult to predict. This doesn’t mean the SAT class is worthless. It only means there is still a gigantic amount of improvement needed to make the class more effective.