Prepping for perfection: Juniors discuss SAT prep techniques

Emily Perez, Staff Writer

When it comes to being prepared for the SAT, some students will take hours of prep classes, buy practice books and exercise any chance they have at being ready for the test. Junior Madison English is familiar with the world of SAT prep, as she started taking classes from an young age.

“I am in a college prep course that is run by a man named Doctor Beasley,” English said. “As part of his program I have taken the actual SAT 5 times already. I started when I was a freshmen.”

While most prep classes give you practice tests to work on, English gains practice from taking the actual test.

“Doctor Beasley recommended that I start as soon as possible,” English said. “They send the tests I took back to me and I get to analyze the questions I got wrong. I’ve been taking the test as many as I can and from all the ones that I take I just pick my highest score to submit to colleges. I also get assignments sent to me that I have to have done by a certain time.”

Junior Madison English reviews the materials she uses to study for the SAT. "I didn't realize until I was older how much the SAT can impact which schools you get accepted to," English said. Photo by Emily Perez.
Junior Madison English reviews the materials she uses to study for the SAT. “I didn’t realize until I was older how much the SAT can impact which schools you get accepted to,” English said. Photo by Emily Perez.

While the class itself is on the pricier side, English’s parents enrolled her in the prep classes as a way to ultimately save money on college. According to English, higher test scores open up doors for more scholarship money.

“My mom was talking to somebody about financial aid and the person she spoke to recommended Beasley,” English said. “I do have two younger siblings and so my parents can’t spend all their money to send me to college.”

While English feels she has a slight advantage by seeing and analyzing the test she took, her methods of prep have their downsides as well.

“A pro about Beasley’s program is that at Karen Dillard’s or other places they can do their best to tell you things that will be on the test, but for me I can actually analyze real test questions I got wrong and look at them,” English said. “A con to the classes is that it’s extremely time consuming and can be very overwhelming.”

English believes that taking the test as many times as she has helps to relieve the pressure of standardized testing.

“Taking the test a lot means I’m really used to the process, so I don’t get stressed out or over think things,” English said.

Although English’s classes offer some new methods of studying, it may not be for everyone. Junior Bree Jolley started to prepare for the SAT by going to Karen Dillard’s SAT prep classes.

“I started KD the summer before my junior year,” Jolley said. “Which is later than a lot of kids, who often start the summer before their freshmen year.”

A lot of students take SAT prep classes during the school year, adding one more thing to do on top of school work.

“I purposefully took it over the summer so that I wouldn’t have to worry about juggling it on top of school,” Jolley said. “I’m really glad I started when I did.”

While prep classes can offer multiple workshops and test taking strategies, Jolley said that it is hard to truly tell the affects of prep classes until you get your scores back.

“It’s seemed to help. My practice test scores have gone up, but I’ll truly see its results once I take my SAT,” Jolley said.

Even though students have various ways of studying for the SAT, a good amount of work seems to go into any method.

“It’s sometimes hard to get the motivation to go there, do workshops and the homework, but I find that when I do it pays off,” Jolley said. “Karen Dillard’s offers unlimited practice tests so I feel like I get the best of both worlds.”