Are You Ready for the SAT?

Here’s what you need to know going in


Aaron Lambert

PSAT Student Guide

Aaron Lambert, Staff Member

As first semester comes to a close, juniors are beginning to consider what they are going to do with standardized college entrance exams. Tumultuous change in requirements and content will be implemented this year, and students need to know what to expect.

SATs are the “required” test for juniors, with the ACT being an extra option for people if they are willing to pay for it. The school will offer the SAT for free as their standard for college entrance. School districts across the country are opting to offer the SAT as a standard test, as it follows the PSAT that is available to sophomores and juniors during the fall semester.

“What’s good about taking the SAT as a junior this year is that it closely models the PSAT you took as sophomores,” Assistant Principal Tim Bruell said. “It’s going to be the same four sets of tests. There will be a reading test, a writing test, math is broken up into calculator and non-calculator, and an optional essay test. We are offering the essay to everybody but Rocky has never given the essay as part of the state test.”
The essay is an optional part of the SAT that is given a score from 2-8. A student can opt to write the essay to have the extra score added to their SAT results.

“We are able to do that if the student wants to take (the essay test) and information will be coming out about how to sign up for that if you need to,” Bruell said. “My advice about the essay would be to contact the school you’re looking to go to and see if they need it or not. If they don’t I wouldn’t take it, if they do I would take it.”

A benefit of the SAT being the offered test is that it is a good transition from the preparation and test that some students have already taken with the PSAT. Scores for the PSAT are available online with answers and insight into the type of preparation you need to do in order to improve your score.

“If you took the PSAT I would go back and look at your score for that on College Board. You can log on to that and look at your whole account,” Bruell said. “Khan Academy offers a lot of assistance towards things you missed that are very focused on the individual. If you put in that code on your score sheet you can get individualized help for the things you missed on the PSAT.”

Despite the decision to offer the SAT as the standard test for juniors, the test has changed to be very similar to the ACT.

The test itself is just like the ACT ”

— Tim Bruell

The test itself is just like the ACT Bruell said. “The new SAT has no penalty for guessing; don’t leave any questions blank. Make sure you know how much time and how many questions you have left. That time management piece is super important and something I’d make sure I’m paying attention to. Most of the time just those two things alone. Making sure you answer every question and pacing yourself well can lead to better scores without taking into account the things you know and the stuff you remember the day of the test.”

Bruell also recommends preparing for the test by taking a practice version before the day itself to prevent test anxiety that could affect your score.

“There’s all sorts of practice tests out there,” Bruell said. “If you’re serious about it take it in an environment that is safe. You don’t want the first time you take the test to be on that Tuesday with the clock in your face and the teacher saying “Alright pencils down; stop.” You don’t want that to be the first time you’re in that situation with those questions.”

Bruell encourages everyone to be present and try their best on the SAT for their personal benefit and the image of Rocky.

“Realize that these tests represent not only you as an individual but they also represent us as a school. I think there’s a lot of pride at this school and one of the ways to show what we are capable of is to take this test seriously,” Bruell said. “I would like to see kids do that at all levels. We have a great school and it would be nice to see how we compare to the rest of the state and the district. We have great kids here, we know it, and this is how we can show that in another way.”

The SAT will be offered on April 11 with a makeup date being tentatively slated for three weeks after that.