MALIBU, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/07/12 -- Do you have questions about the SAT? You're not alone. For many students and families, the SAT is daunting. To help answer many of the most common questions about the SAT test, Shaan Patel, a perfect SAT score recipient and Director of SAT Programs at Veritas Prep, identified the five questions he's most frequently asked and offers responses below:
Why do smart students struggle with the SAT?
The SAT is very different than the tests students take in their high school classes, but many think that if they are a solid A student, they don't need to prepare for the SAT. That overconfidence is the number one reason students who normally do well academically post disappointing scores the first time they take the exam. The SAT rewards the prepared and it is absolutely an exam students can master with effective SAT prep. Students that spend time learning and practicing key strategies, reviewing grammar rules and vocabulary and taking practice tests will be much better positioned for success on test day.
For students applying to competitive colleges and universities, is your GPA or SAT score more important?
When admissions officers look at GPA and SAT scores, only one is a standardized measure: the SAT. Grade point average has a high level of variability from school to school, which means it isn't a consistent or standard measure with which to compare or evaluate applicants. So when it comes to college admissions, the four hours you spend taking the SAT is more important than the 4,000 hours you spend working on your GPA. Given that, whether you take an SAT course or prep on your own, you need to put considerable effort into preparing for the exam.
When is the best time to take the SAT?
While many consider spring of junior year the best time to take the SAT, Veritas Prep actually recommends that students first take the exam during the winter of their junior year. The reason is simple -- timing. Students that wait until spring of their junior year are preparing for the SAT, finals and often AP exams as well. Add in sports, extracurricular activities and a job, and that is a lot to handle. The best plan is to take the SAT in the winter when you have more time to dedicate to SAT preparation. A common argument is that you should wait to take the SAT until after you've completed algebra II, but the truth is, if you prep properly you'll have command of the strategies you need to correctly solve SAT math questions, not to mention the rest of the exam.
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