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SAT: The Gift That Keeps Giving

At the beginning of my senior year of college, everyone was panicking about the possibility of not finding a job before graduation. Hence, job fairs were heavily attended. While attending a job fair hosted by the business school, I was encouraged to discuss finance positions at Abercrombie and Fitch by a recruiter. I decided I had nothing to lose and introduced myself. She then asked me what I scored on the SAT. Yes, she was referring to the exam that I took over five years ago. After awkwardly staring at her in disbelief, I answered her question and kindly ended the conversation. I do not agree with how the recruiter tried to put me in a box, but as Tupac said, “I was given this world, I didn’t make it.” Doing well on the SAT pays dividends and high school students may encounter this recruiter in the future, so I have decided to share my experience with the SAT.

Five Years Ago…

As many of my classmates prepared to gain admission to the University of Texas, I was hearing whispers in my AP classes about expensive test preparation courses. The top 10% of my class were spending the weekends studying for the SAT. I had not even bought a book. I then went from zero to one hundred in preparation for the SAT.

1. Many test preparation companies advertise free test services in hopes that you will enroll in their program. I repeatedly let them down. I signed up for a free one on one session with a math tutor through Kaplan. The tutor broke down the most useful “tips and tricks” in the math portion of the exam. After the session, I realized that “exam secrets” weren’t available at the local Barnes and Nobles. I also made use of the resources at my local library: the Princeton Review hosted mock exams with a detailed analysis of the results. I sat for two exams for a grand total of $0. The tutors even reviewed the results with me to pin point my weaknesses.

2. I had a close friend who had taken a SAT test preparation course. After he was admitted to the University of Texas, I asked if he be willing to pass the study materials to on to me. The next day, he handed me a manual that solely focused on “beating” the exam. Every Junior should seek the advice Seniors that are making the moves that you would like to make next year.

Note: I consistently drilled problems in my Barron’s study manual. I am not suggesting that “tips and tricks” can eradicate the need for hard work and dedication. I am promoting them as a necessary supplement to level the playing field.

3. Use http://www.collegeconfidential.com . It is basically a place for controlling parents and overachievers to share advice. There is a wealth of information on this site. I received a jewel daily. The site reminds you of who you are really competing against. You may be smart, but…

4. Lastly, I formed a community online. This allowed me to communicate with other young people who had similar interests and backgrounds on college confidential (CC). I still keep in touch via Facebook with one CC alum. CC will allow you to gain relevant information and receive support outside of a relatively small high school network (assuming you do not meet anyone at McDonald’s at 11pm for a study session).

*Please forward this post to your favorite high school student or controlling parent

$30p/h

Joseph A.

Math Coach

20+ hours
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