Dates and Times of Classes
We are holding review classes 4 days a week. The 0 period classes will be 7:50 – 8:40 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays with the Thursday morning class being 8:30 – 9:25. The afternoon classes will be from 3:20 – 4:10, Monday through Thursday. Our classes are 8 weeks long, 4 weeks for math and 4 weeks verbal.
Spring 2017 Classes
January 17 through March 10
SAT test date: March 11
March 6 through May 5
SAT test date: May 6
The value of this class and increase of a student’s potential score will be directly related to the amount of effort that they put forth. Students will be asked to take a Verbal or Math practice exam on 6 separate weekends. In addition they will have worksheets of actual SAT questions that they will be asked to do 3 days a week.
Typically students take the SAT test during spring of their junior year though all students are welcome. If a student were to take it as a sophomore and wish to repeat it as junior they will find that we are using the same practice worksheets. The practice tests would be different from the fall PSAT class.
The instructors will be Gregg Whitnah and Jen Payne for math and Shannon Kirkpatrick for verbal. Regardless of the instructor all materials and lessons will be identical.
We are very grateful to M-A’s Foundation for the Future for underwriting this course. Parents of students are encouraged to supplement the funding provided by the Foundation for the Future by making donations to support this class.
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This information will also be emailed in BearNotes on Sunday nights.
What is the difference between the PSAT and SAT test?
The content is identical but the PSAT is shorter and easier. The SAT test is used to help determine college admission decisions while the PSAT is practice for most students. If a student has a outstanding performance on the October PSAT during their junior year they will be become a National Merit semi-finalist or a commended student, both that increase a student’s profile when applying to college. PSAT scores range from 160 to 760. SAT scores range from 200 to 800.
What is the student workload?
The value of this class and the increasing of a student’s potential score will be directly related to the amount of effort that they put forth. Students will be asked to take a Verbal or Math practice exam on 6 separate weekends. In addition they will have worksheets of actual PSAT/SAT questions that they will be asked to do 3 days a week. There is neither a grade nor credits so students can be absent, and, at their discretion, choose not to do some of the work due to outside time constraints including their other classes and sports programs. Content can be discrete topics so missing one day does not necessarily affect other days of reviewing.
Who is teaching the classes?
The instructors will be Gregg Whitnah(mornings) and Jen Payne(both mornings and afternoons) for math and Shannon Kirkpatrick (both mornings and afternoons) for verbal. Regardless of the instructor all materials and lessons will be identical.
Can I attend a class in the morning or afternoon because of conflicts?
It is necessary for the verbal classes to alternate weeks so the verbal teacher can teach one set of classes per week. This means that if you miss a Tuesday morning math class you will not find that same class happening that afternoon. Depending on which class you start first, math or verbal, it may be possible to make up some missed classes. For example, if you start with the Verbal class during your first week and miss the Tuesday afternoon class, it would be possible to attend that Tuesday class in the morning the next week.
How Do I Sign Up for the Actual SAT Exam?
Students can sign up for the SAT as www.collegeboard.org. The sooner you signup the more likely you will get the test site of your choice. The SAT test is offered at Paly, Gunn and Carlmont though some test dates do not include all three sites. The PSAT will be given at M-A and there is no need to sign-up.
When Do You Sign Up for the Spring SAT classes?
The enrollment process will begin in November. There will be morning and afternoon classes to prepare for the March SAT test and May SAT test. Last year, we had both morning and afternoon classes for both the March SAT test and May SAT test
Does The Class Focus on Testing Taking or Content?
The Old SAT had lots of content that was independent of high school content and was more of an aptitude test than an achievement test. It also penalized students for incorrect answers. There were many strategies to address these issues. The New SAT test is based on the Common Core standards and does not penalize students for incorrect answers. Because of these changes, it has become more of an Achievement Test and learning and practicing the content is now more important than strategies.
How Do Donations to Pay for the Class Work?
The M-A’s Foundation for the Future is underwriting this course when donations do not fully support it. Parents of students are encouraged to supplement the funding provided by the Foundation for the Future by making donations of $300 to support this class. Families can donate whatever they feel they can afford. To put the $300 in perspective, a private SAT class could charge $1400 for a class that is one-third the length of our classes and a local community college charges $200 for a class that meets on only two Saturday mornings. Class expenses include teacher stipends and test booklets.
What About the Subject Tests?
SAT subjects tests are required/recommended for more selective colleges. Last year we offered a math review class for the May subject math test (level 2) and math and biology review classes for the June subject tests.
Do We Have to Buy Additional Materials?
The test book, other tests, and curriculum materials are provided as part of the class.
NEW SAT, what are the changes?
Structural Changes – The NEW SAT has fewer sections but takes more time (140 minutes to 180 minutes). There is no longer a penalty for wrong answers(4 possible answers instead of 5) and calculators are no longer allowed on one of the two math sections. For us older folks, you will most appreciate that the scoring system has returned back to 1600 from 2400. We all have a feel for a 1530 but who ever knew what a 2170 was?
Why Change - The decision to change, according to Time Magazine, was a business decision. The ACT is more achievement based and 20 states were using it as part of their analysis of student progress. The NEW SAT is based on the new Common Core content and the CollegeBoard is hoping to be more competitive.
Math Changes - A bigger emphasis on Algebra and Algebra 2 with Geometry being deemphasized. A lot more applied mathematics with many more word problems and more statistics and probability. The big push is in the area of slope. Half of Calculus is about slope (or change) and the new SAT is testing the understanding of slope in many different ways (without the need to know Calculus.) Also new is simple trigonometry and complex numbers.
English Changes – The Reading section no longer includes vocabulary questions, and focuses on longer passages that may include graphics. The Writing and Language section requires students to correct grammatical errors as they are embedded in whole passages, rather than as discrete sentences. The essay is now focused on passage analysis rather than argumentation.