ARC should provide SAT prep programs

With more than 2 million students taking the SAT each year, according to the College Board, standardized testing has become more competitive than ever.

Students prepare for these tests in a multitude of ways, from self-studying to private tutoring; while everyone’s method may be a bit different, there is one thing everyone is lacking: time.

During junior year, the ever-present battle of schoolwork and activities versus sleep intensifies, making it difficult to find time to put aside for SAT prep. Due to this, VHHS should help enable its students by providing a structured time during the day for test prep.

This time should be set up in the form of a class while capitalizing on the ARC’s preexisting resources. By having the class be considered a study hall, students can come in during their lunch and/or study halls to work through their topics of choice, all while having teachers and tutors available every period, just dedicated to test prep.

Since this would require added staffing to the ARC, participation would have to be planned so that everyone is able to receive the attention they need. Students should register for their sessions the week before, selecting each individual day that they will attend.

For the curriculum, VHHS should use Khan Academy, since it has an incredible track record from previous students who have used it. According to their website, 20 hours of practice on the site gives the average student a 115 point increase.

“Research on Khan Academy does show that it significantly improves students’ SAT scores,” Dr. Young, Director of Programming and Data Analysis, said. “In fact, you get some national merit qualifiers over the last couple of years that spent a lot of time in Khan Academy.”

Some potential issues which could arise are with the progression of the class. If it were set up as a teacher giving a lesson every day, with students then completing a practice exercise of some sort, students who are already more advanced wouldn’t find the class useful.

If it were completely self-study, students who would need more support would be completely left behind. By using Khan Academy, this system can be of benefit to all students, whether they are struggling or looking for a perfect score.

“I would say that you would take a diagnostic test, then based on the areas you are weak in you would only do those,” Rahul Gupta (11) said. “I don’t think students in the class should have to practice skills they have already mastered, and the diagnostic test helps them know exactly what they need to work on.”

With this middle ground between independent study and set-curriculum teaching, students would be able to work at their own pace on the specific topics they have issues with. This gives the class a great deal of independence, making the impact on the ARC’s resources minimal, allowing for more students to be able to participate in the program.