SAT and ACT
January 23, 2016 SAT Prep (OLD SAT)
We encourage all students to take the OLD SAT.
This will be the very last time this test version will be offered.
March 5, 2016 SAT Prep (NEW SAT)
|12 Mondays||12 Tuesdays||12 Wednesdays|
Class 1: November 23
Class 2: November 30
Class 3: December 7
Class 4: December 14
Class 5: December 21
No Class December 28 (Winter Break)
Class 6: January 4
Class 7: January 11
No Class January 18 (MLK Day)
Class 8: January 25
Class 9: February 1
Class 10: February 8
No Class February 15 (Mid-Winter Break)
Class 11: February 22
Class 12: February 29
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 pm
Class 1: November 24
Class 2: December 1
Class 3: December 8
Class 4: December 15
Class 5: December 22
No Class December 29 (Winter Break)
Class 6: January 5
Class 7: January 12
Class 8: January 19
Class 9: January 26
Class 10: February 2
Class 11: February 9
No Class February 16 (Mid-Winter Break)
Class 12: February 23
Class 13: March 1 (Make-up/ Bonus Class)
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 pm
Class 1: November 25
Class 2: December 2
Class 3: December 9
Class 4: December 16
Class 5: December 23
No Class December 30 (Winter Break)
Class 6: January 6
Class 7: January 13
Class 8: January 20
Class 9: January 27
Class 10: February 3
Class 11: February 10
No Class February 17 (Mid-Winter Break)
Class 12: February 24
Class 13: March 2 (Make-up/ Bonus Class)
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 pm
NEW SAT PREP
Crash Course for the March 5, 2016 – Mid-Winter Recess Crash Course
Class 1: Monday February 16
Class 2: Tuesday February 17
Class 3: Wednesday February 18
Class 4: Thursday February 19
Class 5: Friday February 20
Course Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
5 classes/ 8 hours each/ 40 hours total
Students will take a full length diagnostic test in the mornings, followed by a detailed review and lesson
Crash Course for the May 7, 2016 New SAT
Spring Break Crash Course
Class 1: Monday April 25
Class 2: Tuesday April 26
Class 3: Wednesday April 27
Class 4: Thursday April 28
Class 5: Friday April 29
Time : 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
5 classes/ 8 hours each/ 40 hours total
Students will take a full length diagnostic test AM,followed by a detailed review and lesson PM
Kweller Prep Queens Location Only:
Parker Towers Building 104-40 Queens Blvd Suite 1C, Forest Hills NY 11375 (QB & 69 Ave)
June 2016 SAT Crash Course
Memorial Day Weekend : May 28, May 29, and May 30, 2016
Class 1: Saturday May 28, 2016
Class 2: Sunday May 29, 2016
Class 3: Monday, May 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
3 days/ 8 hours each day/ 24 hours total
Students will take a full length diagnostic test AM,followed by a detailed review and lesson PM
Kweller Prep Queens Location Only:
Register by Calling 1 (800) 631-1757 or Register Online: www.KwellerPrep.com
BEFORE THE NEW SAT BASICS: You will only have a handful of chances to take the OLD SAT. We highly suggest you study all summer in 2015, take the SAT test for the first time October 2015, buy the Question and Answer Service (QAS) at www.Collegeboard.com, and review the October 2015 test entirely.
Take the SAT for the second time early December 2015, order the test through QAS, review the entire test, then take the SAT test for the third and LAST time late January 2016.
Three times is just enough times to take the test. Studies show that the more times you take the test, the more likely you are to improve your score. You should try to take the SAT by grade 9, 10, 11.
Do not take waste your time testing and retesting senior year in grade 12 because you have to spend your time early of senior year applying for college.
Senior year is stressful enough and you should not spend that time taking the SAT, a test you should have taken at least 3 times by grade 11.
Video 1: Perfect 2400 SAT Score
Video 2: Perfect 2400 SAT
Video 3: Perfect 2400 SAT
Video 4: Best Time to Take the SAT
Video 5: SAT Words at Kweller Prep
Video 6: SAT Vocabulary at Kweller Prep
Video 7: SAT Tips for a Perfect Score
Video 8: College Admissions Essay Tips
Video 9: College interview- Cornell
Video 10: Interview of a Harvard Grad
When is Best Time to take the SAT?
I am asked this question regularly, and would like to properly address it. First and foremost, The SAT exam offered in the following months: October, November, December, January, March, and May and June.
The Test Dates for the 2013-2014 school year are as follows:
October 5, 2013
November 2, 2013
December 7, 2013
January 25, 2014
March 8, 2014
May 3, 2014
June 7, 2014
Before we get into the best time to take the SAT, I must address what I call the “Score Choice Scam.” Well, here goes: With the new Score Choice policy (which is very tricky, and I will elaborate on it in another article), students are informed that they may take the SAT as many times as they’d like and just have to submit the scores they want to the schools they choose.
Score Choice sounds easy, right? Nope! Please do not be fooled by the College Board’s sneaky tactics. ETS (the Educational Testing Service, aka “Evil Testing Serpents”) is squeezing more money out of each and every tester. Think about it: Instead of taking the test one or two times (and paying for the test just one or two times), kids are misled and parents are duped into now taking and paying for the test six or seven times. ETS benefits tremendously by keeping parents in the dark. Instead of paying $51 once or twice to take the SAT ($102 in total), kids are now encouraged to take the test over and over again. Six tries will be around $300! Oh, there are such things as fee waivers, by the way, but those are scarce and hard to find—and there is no way that you will get away with using a waiver for six attempts at taking the test. Guidance counselors receive a cap on how many they can distribute and have to do a careful accounting of each fee waiver.
It is imperative to know that the rumors you hear about score choice are not entirely true. You can’t keep your SAT scores a secret from some very prestigious schools. Many top schools, such as Georgetown University, do not participate in score choice AT ALL (see http://uadmissions.georgetown.edu/scorechoicepolicy.cfm: “Georgetown University does NOT participate in the Score Choice option available through the College Board or the similar program through Educational Testing Service (ETS)” and “Georgetown requires that you submit scores from ALL test sittings of the SAT, ACT or SAT Subject Tests.”).
The list gets longer. In fact, many top schools, not just the Ivy League, want to see ALL student SAT scores, not merely the top ones in each section (sorry to be the one to have to tell you this) Here is a list of just some of the colleges that do not participate in score choice—which means they will require ALL SAT SCORES when you apply to their college: Stanford, Cornell, UPenn, Georgetown, and Yale. There are many more schools, but that’s a lot of info for now.
Now back to business. Before I reveal the “magic month” (please don’t scroll down & cheat!!!) I need to address the detriments of receiving and relying on bad advice. Students often go to their friends or teachers to ask when the best time to take the SAT is. Many college advisors and teachers alike tell students to take the SAT (or ACT) when they are ready. They tend not to specify or explain a strategic month to take the test. The student is left to figure out on his own when to take the test, and the student wrongfully decides to take it in June of Junior Year.
Teachers tend to tell students to take the SAT when they are ready. “Just take it when it feels right!” they often say. While the person giving such advice may have very good intentions, I have yet to meet students who, with certainty, felt completely “ready” to take a 3.5 hour long, 10 consecutive section exam bright and early on a Saturday or Sunday morning. In fact, many students leave the SAT wishing they invested even more hours in preparing for the test, no matter how much they studied in advance. Taking the test “when ready” is generally the free advice you get from friends and counselors. Please be wary of this.
With that being said, is it true that some months of the year are better than others to take the SAT? The answer is YES.
Hands down, the best time to take the SAT is during junior year of high school (11th Grade). When? The earlier the better. Taking the SAT as a junior for the very first time (officially) is optional… and strategic. This means you should prepare all summer long for the test and ultimately, ace it. 11th grade is an ideal time to take the SAT. Kweller Prep offers 8-week intensive SAT prep courses to give you structure and teach strategies as you prep for the SAT from grade 10 to 11. By then, you have probably taken math courses such as algebra and geometry, can handle trigonometry and functions, and are comfortable with a TI-84 or TI-Inspire (which, by the way, is the best calculator for the SAT because it has the CAS algebraic system built into it!).
11th grade is also often a student’s first peek into near-adulthood maturity. The end is near. He or she is ready to leave the nest and go off to college. Parents will notice a more cooperative child during his or her 11th grade. Students tend to want to do better in school during this time because college is at their fingertips.
By 11th grade you have also hopefully taken as many advanced or AP English classes that are offered at your school, and you have a relatively strong vocabulary. Without a doubt, 10th grade is too early to take the SAT for the first time. Conversely, 12th grade is too late.
Students should NOT prepare for the SAT a month or two before the exam, despite what many companies, such as Princeton Review or Kaplan suggest. A few weeks or hours of prep simply won’t cut it. If you really want to excel, you should take at least one dozen proctored exams before game day. Many Kweller Prep Students, in particular those who scored in the 99th percentile, prepared 6 months to 1 year in advance intensively and took approximately 12-20 proctored practice SAT tests at Kweller Prep.
Here’s a month by month breakdown of when to take, or rather when I advise you NOT to take, the SAT:
May of Junior Year:
For some reason, the vast majority of high school juniors take the May Administration of the SAT as their first time dealing with this atrocious test. I think this is a mistake, for several reasons. First of all, if you take the SAT for the first time in MAY and are later unhappy with your score, you will not be able to re-take the test until at least October of Senior Year. Bad, bad idea.
What students don’t realize is that if they are unhappy with your MAY test results, they will will have to pay an ADDITIONAL $27.50 in late registration fees to register for the June exam, only have a week to study, and it will be too late to adequately prepare. Students won’t get their May SAT results until at least May 22, and the late registration deadline for the June exam is May 23. (Availability information for SAT tests can be found here: http://sat.collegeboard.org/scores/availability). It’s also highly likely that the local test centers will be filled and students will have to test in undesirable locations far away from home. Remember, the early bird catches the worm.
Another reason why taking the SAT in May is NOT ideal is because the academic school year is particularly demanding during that month. During the month of May, many students take AP (Advanced Placement) exams, IB (International Baccalaureate) exams, (http://www.uhigh.lsu.edu/academics/ib/Exams.pdf), complete term papers, prepare for New York State Regents exams, and get ready for school finals, science projects, and the like. Talk about having a lot on your plate! It is nearly impossible to adequately prepare for the SAT in May given all this divided attention and many students wind up re-taking the SAT in October of their senior year (so much for senioritis!) because they cannot manage all these significant responsibilities (and who could blame them?). The SAT is not the kind of test you want to take in addition to doing twenty other things; preparing adequately for this exam truly requires much of your undivided attention.
Kweller Prep students prepared for the upcoming October SAT as many as 5 days a week—all summer long. Needless to say, this was not their ideal summer break, and a horrible way to spend the last summer before starting their final year of high school. Why did they get stuck taking the SAT in October? Well, this happens every year. We get a batch of kids from other tutoring centers like Kaplan or Princeton which sign kids up and suggest the MAY sat for the first time—well, next thing you know, they get results at the end of May, don’t have time to study for June, and boom! They join our summer camp.
It is important to remember the difference between theory and practice. In theory, you may tell yourself that you will study study study like crazy after you take the MAY test, every day until JUNE. But in reality, that won’t happen. I’ll tell you what will: After you take the MAY SAT, you will want to unwind and the last thing you will want to do is to study. You will play a “wait-and-see” game to see how you did on the MAY exam. Bad, bad idea.
Here is another reality check. You should consider the weather as a factor of when to take the SAT. Yes, the WEATHER. You heard me right.
New York finally gets its first taste of springy, sunny weather in May. I pull out my flower dresses and all I want to do is play with my puppy outside. The last thing on my mind is studying—please! That was so wintertime!!!
After several months of New York City’s bitter cold, the temptation of spending a sunny afternoon outdoors instead of being indoors studying is very great. You should take the test when it’s cold outside, when you are more likely to stay indoors and prepare so that you are at your optimal readiness level on test day. A cold tester is a focused tester. In short, if possible, stay away from the idea of making the MAY SAT the first time you will test. You will wind up retesting in October, and really regret not taking that test sooner—after paying rush fees and missing early decision and early action deadlines.
October of Senior:
Ideally, taking the SAT for the first time junior year is perfect, perfect, perfect. Then taking it a second time January of Junior year is beyond ideal. By march of Junior Year, students can sit for the SAT for the third and last time. Here are the reasons why you should not take the SAT for the first time in October of senior year.
Taking the SAT as a senior is flat-out painful. Many students get trapped into taking the October SAT in their senior year (as elaborated upon in detail above).
I have several bits of advice to offer as to why October is NOT the optimal time to take the SAT.
First, the SAT is scored on a curve.
Curving a test means that your score is rescaled, and during October, the readjustment of scores is NOT tipped in your favor. (see: http://academics.hamilton.edu/biology/smiller/curve.html)
Normalization also requires that overly high scores be adjusted downward for conformity. Either way, data are distorted and some information is lost. Look at some data, and then consider all the implications of “grading on a curve’.”
Moreover, almost all students taking the October SAT are seniors and doing well in October will be incredibly harder than at any other times of the year. I had several students score a 2100 or higher during practice tests, but only hit a 2000 for the October SAT because of the rescaled score curve. This is why I firmly believe that a student who would otherwise score a 2000 on the January administration of the SAT would only get as much as an 1850 in October, because of the stiff competition of the curve.
With regards to the weather, boy is it beautiful during the months leading up to October! This means that studying for the SAT throughout the summer will be harder than ever. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to prepare for the SAT when your friends are scheduling beach trips and your families are arranging exotic once-a-year vacations. Even my most disciplined testers missed a lesson or two throughout the summer, and I couldn’t blame them. After a rigorous junior year of high school, who wouldn’t want to enjoy his or her summer before senior year?
Furthermore, because nearly all the students taking the October SAT have already taken it at least once before, statistically, their scores are likely to increase, as they have already gone through the initial stress of sitting for the exam for the first time, thus tipping the curve against your favor.
Pleasant weather, classic senioritis symptoms, and a miserable testing curve are just a few reasons why taking the SAT is October is not optimal. If you can, stay away, or else be prepared to dedicate your summer living at Kweller Intensive SAT Prep.
Ask yourself, do you really want to play football with the pros or with amateurs? Nearly every senior taking the SAT in October took it once before, and many of them studied and prepared all summer. Personally, I play to win. I’m perfectly happy competing with amateurs.
November of Junior Year:
Do not take the SAT for the first time in November of Junior Year. You will get the results over Thanksgiving and if you do poorly, you will be bummed out over the holidays. You are also a full two months into school and getting ready for midterms at many and the last thing you need is to deal with the SAT on top of that. As explained earlier, it is much more beneficial to take the SAT for the very first time in October of Junior year, then again in January, then again in March of Junior year. This way, you can spread out your tests and results and you will have plenty of time to study in between. Remember, by taking the SAT for the first time in October of Junior Year, you can utilize your whole summer to prep and study for this exam. Taking in in November of Junior year for the first time would be a mistake.
November of Senior Year:
Taking the SAT senior year is rough, really rough, and I would never advise it unless you have no other choice. The real problem with November testing senior year (and there are many more reasons than just the few stated here) is that students are likely to fall behind with the college application process since the November scores won’t even be released until November 21.
In SAT Land, the early bird truly catches the worm and no student taking the November or December administration of the SAT will be eligible to apply Early Action (EA, which is non-binding) or Early Decision (ED, which is binding), since these priority deadlines are usually November 1 or November 15.
The earlier you apply to college, the better, and by taking the SAT so late in the game, you not only hurt your chances for early college admissions, but also for scholarship deadlines. What’s worse is that the later you apply to college, the later you will hear back from them. Some seniors don’t know where they are accepted until as late as June of senior year, and the uncertainty of where you are going to college can be unbearably stressful and frustrating. My assistant, a former Director of Admissions at New York University, informed Kweller Prep students that some schools take as many as 50% of their incoming class from the Early Action and Early Decision pool, and as little as 8% from the regular decision contenders. You want apply to your dream school when the odds are the most in your favor, so make sure not to be a late tester, or you WILL regret it. Think about Thanksgiving, think about turkey… please don’t think about SAT.
December of Senior Year:
Oye, what a headache it is to take the SAT in December of senior year! With the holidays fast approaching, and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, already passed, concentration is harder than ever. Not to mention all the mid-year academic demands—finals, papers, term projects. What’s worse is that the regular decision college deadlines are fast approaching (Cornell’s deadline is January 1).
The December tester not only has to worry about juggling his or her academic demands, college applications, and SAT preparedness, but also risks getting locked out from his or her top choices for college because of the fast approaching deadlines.
YES is it true that you hurt your chances of getting into your dream school by applying late. The key is to get your application out EARLY. Warn your younger friends!!!! Hundreds of thousands of students from around the country apply to college, and you have to distinguish yourself. A serious candidate applies early in the game, and college admissions officers both recognize and reward that effort. A student who takes the December SAT will not have his scores released until Christmas-time. Colleges are on winter recess and the college admissions committee meets very infrequently at that time. In short, December is not the optimal time to take the SAT.
January of Junior Year:
Well, we have found our winner. Take the SAT once for practice in October of Junior year, then take it very seriously the second time in January of Junior year. Finally, take the test once more in March of Junior year and be done with this test. Move on to SAT 2 Subject Tests and the ACT.
There are so many fantastic reasons why January IS the opportune time to take the SAT. The chaos from the winter holidays is over; it’s likely to be icy cold outside, which makes you more likely to stay in and study (hopefully!) rather than go out and shop; the semester has changed, and many students start slowly with new teachers during this time; the school curriculum is not nearly as intense as it was a month ago.
THE BEST PART, and I do mean THE BEST part of taking the January SAT as juniors is that the curve is in your favor. This means you will get the most bang for your testing buck. I frequently joke about how my January Testers will take the SAT with a room full of 12 year olds. What could possibly be more heavenly than taking the SAT, on a curve, along with a bunch of 7th graders as your main competition?
Why take the SAT in January of junior year? Because you are ahead of the masses, and you can reach your highest score because the curve is in your favor. ETS (the college board) will hate me for saying this: A senior who takes the SAT in October and scores an 1850 could have easily scored as much as a 2000 had she taken the January administration of the SAT and prepared the same way for both exams. See for yourself by checking the score reports. Compare the number of questions wrong versus the final score. You can have a higher score in January and still get more wrong. That’s the beauty of the January curve.
Take the SAT when you have the highest chances of doing well, and January is the optimal testing time because that is precisely when the odds are in your favor. Don’t delay! You may not have such a golden opportunity again.
Why are so many seventh graders taking the SAT in January? Well, Johns Hopkins University conducts a National Talent Search and seeks out the finest 7th and 8th graders around to see how they will do on the SAT. (See: http://cty.jhu.edu/ts/grades78.html: “CTY, a world leader in gifted education, conducts national and international talent searches to identify, assess, and recognize outstanding academic talent” and “SMPY pioneered the concept of above-grade-level testing of middle school students, using the SAT to identify exceptionally talented mathematical reasoners, then offering rigorous programs for students who exhibit exceptional reasoning ability”). These kids have 90% or higher school averages, and if they perform reasonably well on the SAT, they can be admitted to the John’s Hopkins Summer Program for exceptionally talented youth.
Now, many students should know that a high school average of a 90 or higher does not guarantee an impressive SAT score, which is why it is likely that so many of the middle age students who have exceptional school grades may perform average, or even below average, on test day. January is the best time for a serious high school junior to take the SAT. It’s a golden opportunity, and you will be well ahead of the game.
Timing is everything: This year, the January SAT will be on January 25, 2013. Every other administration of the SAT is given during awful– and I mean awful– times of the year. The SAT is almost always administered during the first Saturday of the testing month. In 2008, I tutored a room filled with seniors on October 31st, because the SAT was given on Saturday, November 1 (?). So much for enjoying Halloween! This year, the October SAT was given on Columbus Day weekend. One of my top students from New York had to take the SAT in Florida because her mother planned a family vacation months in advance and had no idea the SAT would be given on a holiday weekend. The luxury of taking the SAT in January is that all the ‘major’ winter holidays have passed.
This year, the timing of the January SAT will be absolutely perfect. The week prior to the January administration of the exam will feature a 3-day weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr. day. This gives students extra time home from school to study and rest. Moreover, many Catholic schools (like St. Francis Prep) have faculty workshops on Friday, January 22 and no students will attend school that day. The days before the SAT are critical, and having two 3 day weekends to prepare is a blessing and a luxury that no other SAT exam test date offers.
Our team of tutors did some research and came back with this: The January 2010 test was a little easier than average, the May 2011 test was close to average. So in order to score a 710 in math, you would need a raw score of 50 on the easier test for the January 2010. Conversely, you would need a 49 on the average test (May 2011). I believe that every point counts, so let’s opt for January testing.
What if you aren’t happy with your January score? Well you have my permission to play “wait and see.” You will get you January test results after three weeks of taking the SAT, so you will have plenty of time to prepare for March. You can commence a normal early registration, and by taking the March SAT and getting SATs out of the way, you can finally concentrate on finals, AP exams, and regents. Sadly, far too few students take the SAT in January of their junior year of high school. I sincerely hope that this article inspires them to change their minds.
March of Junior Year:
Take the March SAT if you are unhappy with your January SAT score and feel you can do better. Please DO NOT test after March of Junior year. If you are unhappy with your January scores, you will have ample time to register for the March SAT. We are still surrounded by chilly New York weather and you are (hopefully) less likely to go out as you would in May or June.
Furthermore, by taking the SAT in March, you are testing before the May and June masses of students, so you are less likely to be taking the SAT in a room filled with your (ever so distracting) friends and classmates. Very few students take the March administration of the SAT. You are less likely to hit traffic, the test center is less likely to be over crowded, and the scores will be released early enough for you to register again in May if needed.
This is why taking the SAT in March of Junior Year is my runner-up.
Taking the SAT in May wins third place. Stay away from senior year SAT testing, unless you absolutely have to. Even then, only take October and don’t even consider December or January. The exorbitant amount of stress of juggling everything senior year simply won’t be worth it.
Good luck navigating the ever so convoluted college admissions process!
From 1400 to 2150!
Frances Kweller is the founder of Kweller Prep Tutoring and Educational Services in Forest Hills. A lawyer, teacher, tutor, and dreamer, Frances Kweller has prepared hundreds of students to surpass their goals on the SAT and get into their dream colleges. She offers intensive standardized testing tutoring services, college preparation workshops, and strategic advice on the college admissions process. You can reach her at anytime by calling (800) 631– 1757 or e-mailing Info@kwellerprep.com.
This is free advice. Take it for what it’s worth.
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