1. What materials are used in the classes?
A key component of our classes is our two-volume set of vocabulary books. Our experience has been that these books are crucial to students’ success on the verbal and writing sections of the SAT. We strive to make the books teen-friendly s students actually want to read them. We incorporate examples from U.S. History, European History, literature, and Art History along with pop culture to make the words vivid and relevant so that students remember them when they appear on the PSAT and SAT.
2. Why does my child need to take an SAT class?
There are many different questions to consider when determining if your child needs to take an SAT prep class. A few key questions are:
Will my child work independently to prepare for the SAT?
What type of college does my child wish to attend?
Could improved test scores help with obtaining scholarships?
We have found that most students, with an ever-growing list of AP classes and extracurricular activities, do not spend adequate time preparing for the SAT. Depending on which colleges interest your student, he or she may need to improve test scores in order to have a chance at admission, especially as the number of applicants increases each year. Additionally, your child may be able to use SAT scores to obtain college scholarships and/or gain admission to honors programs. Overall, students will find many benefits from taking a review class.
3. What results should I expect?
While there are no magic tricks, shortcuts, or instant solutions, with solid preparation and guided practice, students can achieve scores hundreds of points higher than where they started. With Direct Hits Education, students learn key strategies and common errors to avoid. Our teachers have many years of classroom teaching and SAT tutoring experience. Additionally, they continually take the SAT throughout the year to develop and refine key strategies, discover new test trends and understand how and why students make common mistakes. All of this benefits those students willing to put the time and effort into studying. We consistently see improved results from students taking our classes.
4. When should my child start the SAT classes?
We begin working with students the summer after their sophomore year (when they are rising juniors). The largest group starts in August before school begins, but many new juniors and seniors start during the school year.
5. What is the format of the summer classes?
We offer a four-day comprehensive session before school starts, in early August. All our classes are in a group format.
Students are divided into small groups based on their sophomore year PSAT scores. Students rotate in the morning and afternoon, working half the day on the Critical Reading and Writing sections and the other half on the Math section.
All three parts of the test -- Critical Reading, Math, and Writing -- are covered each day.
On the fourth day, students take a mock/practice test under a modified format, in two-hour time blocks instead of a straight four hours. Students see what the actual SAT will encompass and gain a realistic idea of their strengths and weaknesses. We accommodate students with extended time on the mock test.
6. What is the format of the weekend classes during the school year?
All our classes are in a group format.
These classes are held one to two weeks before each SAT is administered. The format is similar to the summer classes. The students rotate in the morning and afternoon. Every student works half the day on the Critical Reading and Writing sections and half the day on the Math section.
The two-day classes are held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Students are tested on sections from the SAT, Critical Reading, Math, and Writing during the two-day session.
7. Isn’t too early to start working on the SAT in the summer before junior year?
We are frequently asked if this is too early to start working on the SAT. Our experience over the years has been that the earlier students start to prepare, the easier it makes their very busy junior year. The new SAT is a formidable challenge, and once the school year begins, students are trying to juggle homework, extracurricular activities and the beginning of the college search process. It is very difficult to find an extra 20+ hours for review classes once school has begun.
After the classes are over and the mock test results are received, students and their parents can assess what needs to be done to achieve the SAT scores needed for acceptance to the college of their choice.
8. Do these classes also help prepare for the PSAT?
Yes, everything that is done during the summer classes will be beneficial in preparing for the PSAT. The PSAT is very similar to the SAT in the type of material covered, questions asked, and level of difficulty: it is just shorter. The PSAT has two sections of Critical Reading and Math and one section of Writing (which comprises multiple-choice grammar questions, not an essay). For most students the PSAT is just a practice test that colleges will never see, but it is a good indicator of how a student will perform on the SAT. The SAT starts with a 25-minute essay and then continues three sections of Critical Reading and Math and two additional sections of Writing (multiple-choice grammar questions) over almost four hours.
We also offer PSAT review classes in a shortened format the one or two weekends before the PSAT for students that are close to National Merit Scholarship levels, but classes are open to all students regardless of their scores.
9. When do you recommend that students take the SAT?
We usually recommend that students take the SAT for the first time in January. We have had very good results with students taking the January SAT, a second SAT later in the school year, and a third time in the fall of senior year (we recommend that a student take the SAT at least two times by June, which is the last test date offered by the College Board during the school year.) After taking the SAT twice, students will have a very good idea about what colleges will be a good fit.
For many students, the March SAT falls during Spring Break. If a student cannot take the SAT in May or June then we would recommend taking the January and March SAT.
The May SAT is given the weekend before AP exams start and is during the playoff season for most sports. This is a frenetic time of year. We recommend that students take SAT II subject tests in May if they plan to take them since each test is one hour in length. They can take a maximum of three SAT II subject tests in one sitting.
We highly recommend that students take the June SAT. Many students will be out of school before the June SAT and will have time to rest and prepare. In previous years we have seen many students do very well on the June SAT. Last year many of our students took the January SAT, the June SAT and the October SAT with very positive results.
The first SAT offered in the fall is in October. For students applying Early Decision/Early Action, the October SAT is generally the last one a student can take before the application is due (though some colleges accept the November SAT). For those students applying regular admission, the October, November, and December SATs (and possibly January) are available.
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