By Isabella Longo and Jake Mawhinney
OCT 2, 2018

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test that gauges a students’ academic levels and predicts how well s/he may do in college. The SAT consists of math and reading sections, as well as a writing portion that students can opt to include. The regular SAT, without essay, takes three hours to complete. An extra fifty minutes of testing is allotted when students opt to take the writing section. The maximum score a test-taker can earn is sixteen hundred. An eight hundred in both math and reading would add up to a perfect score.

St. Thomas Aquinas High School (STA) guidance counselors Mr. Samuel Patacsil and Mrs. Jonell Serro shared their advice about how to prepare for the exam. Mrs. Serro is STA’s SAT Director and organizes all of the examination requirements on campus. The recommended time frame in which students should take their first SAT is the second semester of their junior year. For those planning to take this test there are sign-up sheets available on the STA website. The SAT scores play a pivotal role in the decision making process colleges use for enrollment,  but it is important to remember that other components are considered as well. STA senior Hannah Jones explains that “the required criteria for applying to colleges include your SAT/ACT score, college   application essay, resume (includes extracurricular activities, awards received, and service hours), and recommendation letters.”

Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board, the company that runs the SAT, to  provide a free SAT preparation experience. According to Mrs. Serro, a student who spends twenty hours using Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT is more likely to increase their scores by up to 115 points.  The weekly Primetime program is another great way to practice. Mrs. Serro also suggested that students prepare for the ACT by logging on to the ACT Academy.

The ACT and SAT are both tests used to assess students’ aptitude and predict their academic abilities. Therefore, each student should make the effort to prepare for the test and what it entails. As Mrs. Serro indicated, some of the hardest parts of preparing for these types of standardized tests include “time management, self discipline, attitude, and knowing strengths and weaknesses.”  Since each of these are behaviors that can be learned or improved, they are practical tools for success.