Within the next ten days, juniors will be getting their 2007 PSAT scores back. Some students and their parents will be sorely disappointed. Trust me; it happens every year. They will be completely dumbfounded. How can a student with a GPA (grade point average) above 3.5, score below the 70th percentile on the PSAT? It just doesn’t make sense.
Parent Response Options: (1) my child is simply not a good standardized test-taker, and there is nothing we can do about it; (2) the SAT is a flawed test, and my child is perfect; once colleges discover these truths, they will disregard his/her scores completely; (3) my child should definitely take the ACT; I heard that it’s easier and that it doesn’t require preparation; (4) preparing for the SAT the “right” way will be challenging, but ulitmately rewarding.
My thoughts on the parent response options above are briefly as follows: (1) not true; don’t go there; if your child does well in school, your child has already proven that he/she is a capable learner; the academic challenges presented by the SAT are no more difficult than those presented in high school, college, or life beyond; (2) while I would never argue against the claim that your child is perfect, I would gladly argue with those who contend that the SAT is a flawed test and those who believe that colleges will completely disregard SAT scores for the “perfect” student; the SAT sets an appropriately high academic standard and colleges will consider SAT scores (albeit, to varying degrees) in the admission process; (3) deciding whether the ACT is the better test for your child is not so simple, and the ACT is by no means easy; (4) for the last 16 years, I have been using the SAT to help prepare students for colleges that include, among many others, all of the Ivies, Stanford, and MIT; students who (a) resist the promises of “secret codes” and “quick fixes” and (b) prepare in earnest, will increase their SAT scores and prepare for the academic rigors of college.
In the days and weeks ahead, I will offer additional thoughts around SAT preparation issues. In the meantime, I encourage students and their parents to test drive ePrep by using ePrep Express. The course is free and there are no “strings” attached. I also encourage students to begin building “large and varied working vocabularies” by using WordSmith, ePrep’s interactive vocabulary builder. A trial version of WordSmith is included with ePrep Express.