SAT Dates Rapidly Approaching


By Olivia Eori
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) dates are approaching quickly, causing increased stress in many high school juniors and seniors. Although many juniors will take SAT (and other standardized tests) in the spring of 2010, the upcoming autumn SAT dates, on October 10th, November 7th, and December 5th, are the last chance seniors will have to take them.

Standardized test scores are one of the first components that college admissions review, in addition to GPA and extracurricular activities. This can place considerable stress on students hoping for high SAT scores. However, recently more tools than ever are available to help students prepare for the SAT and improve their scores.

One of the most common methods for preparation is to buy an SAT prep book. The SAT study guide can be ordered directly from the College Board for about $22. Although a pricier option, there also is an online SAT course available via the College Board website, which can reach upwards of $70. Both resources provide sample multiple choice questions, essay questions, and explanatory answers. Other methods include getting a tutor or going to a SAT prep class, usually offered by local companies like Kaplan. These options are certainly more expensive than preparing individually but can benefit people who learn more effectively in a classroom setting with assigned work and due dates.

The most cost effective way to prepare for the SAT is by going directly to the College Board website. On the site, free practice questions (with explanatory answers) for all of the sections of the SAT are available, as well as a complete practice test and resources for improving test taking approaches. Students can also sign up for “Question of the Day” emails that allow students to try a new sample SAT question as part of their daily routine.

Even taking the SAT multiple times can improve scoring over time, as long as a student puts time and effort into preparing. There is absolutely no shame in re-taking the test, especially if scores were not as strong. Also, colleges take the best of the scores.

Although SATs have always been considered a crucial part of college applications, some colleges are beginning to adopt “Test-optional” polices. Colleges such as Providence College (RI), Assumption College (MA), and Stonehill College (MA) no longer require students to send in their SAT (or other standardized tests) scores. These colleges value students’ high school transcript, college essay, and resume of activities more than the results of one test taken early on a Saturday morning. SAT scores, however, are still an essential part of many applications, especially to more selective colleges. Visit to start practicing for the SATs.