Juniors’ mindsets as SAT approaches

group-diverse-student-ethnic-studying-together_42708-178You’re familiar with winter, spring, summer, and fall, but if you’re an underclassman to a junior, what you might not be too familiar with is the year’s fifth season: SAT season.

Sounds exciting, right? To those who have been preparing since the start of the school year and even prior, it is. The SAT, which colleges use to evaluate a large variety of skills, could very well change one’s life from here on out. As nerve racking as that may seem, this year’s juniors are determined to have full confidence come test day.

With the test less than a couple months away, it’s now time for students to really consider utilizing the study skills they’ve been learning through the past year or so. Both online and in school, the provided resources individually aim to get students where they need to be.

“I’m using online help from websites like Khan Academy and the College Board,” said junior Carlos Lopez, “as well as doing stuff in class with my English teacher and in College Readiness.”

According to the official website of Khan Academy, one of Lansing School District’s main SAT preparation resources, studying a minimum of six hours through the program can result in a 90- point increase from a student’s previous PSAT score. What’s more, 20 hours worth of review and practice tests have taken students as far as a 200-point improvement.

Junior Westin Shanahan makes it a point to log into Khan Academy at least five days a week.

“I do forty questions a day. It takes me about roughly twenty to thirty minutes. It depends what subject I do,” Shanahan said.

The origin of this dedication comes from Shanahan’s desire to score high enough to “get into the honors college at MSU, which has an average [SAT score] of 1400.”

Shanahan is among the few not currently enrolled in a College Readiness class, which was assigned to every junior beginning in the 2018-19 school year, because he feels it’s unnecessary. Some students believe their College Readiness class lacks in enforcing SAT prep.

“We don’t really get too deep into test strategies, we mostly talk about facts about the SAT and they just tell us to do Khan Academy instead of helping us, like explaining on the board,” Lopez said.

As for New Tech junior Joe Hernandez, his College Readiness class lacks an actual room, leaving his class to basically loiter in the school’s library all 7th hour.

“We need to be more organized,” Hernandez said. Though SAT practice enforcement could become stronger, Hernandez added he has researched and applied for college scholarships and things of that nature.

On the New Tech aspect of SAT prep, Hernandez claims the program is doing an effective job at teaching skills on the reading and analysis sections, incorporating various books and book talks following their completion.

As expected, when the grueling four-hour-long test approaches, emotions will tend to kick in. For Lopez, the feelings are already there.

“I feel like [the SAT] has so much weight on it that you start getting too stressed about it, so you start worrying too much and you get anxiety over it,” said Lopez.

Junior Nayda Anjou, who aims to use the Princeton Review as her main study source, feels strongly about this exhausting process.

“It’s a standardized test and it makes us feel like [expletive],” said Anjou.

But from those who have survived the SAT, be assured that there really isn’t anything to worry about when everything’s all said and done.

“The SAT will not define your whole life. You’ll take it, apply to colleges, and never have to think about it again later in life after that,” said senior Nicky Ly.

University of Michigan freshman Vivian Ho advises to even look past the SAT.

“A nice SAT score looks nice on paper, but colleges also consider your extracurriculars and look at you holistically,” said Ho.

Ruth Horta, a first-year student from Michigan State University, encourages juniors to ultimately put in their best effort.

“A standardized test doesn’t determine your worth, but still try because it can reap rewards,” said Horta.

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