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SAT and ACT prep classes available to students at low cost; Sign up for all four or one

By Staff | Oct 14, 2008

Last month, the College Board announced that more than 100,000 Florida students took the SAT in 2008, the highest recorded number of students to ever take the exam.

More than 3 million admission tests are given each year, including the SAT and ACT, both described as radically different from one another. Deciding which test to take used to depend on a student’s geographical location, but now a majority of colleges across the United States accept both tests.

Competition to get into college is also greater than ever, therefore the tests could be a factor in putting one student ahead of another.

The SAT is generally labeled as an exam that evokes critical thinking and problem solving, while the ACT is more content-based, although these labels are not entirely definitive.

Representatives of Sylvan Learning Centers of Southwest Florida consider the tests “the most important exams that a high school student will ever take.”

Carol Hilleary, director of admissions and community outreach for Sylvan, said students should familiarize themselves with the style and types of questions before registering for either exam, and they can achieve that through practice questions.

The company offers test preparation classes that teach students the skills to achieve a high score on the exam: not getting bogged down with difficult questions, eliminating answers that are clearly incorrect, not spending too much time on one question, knowing the instructions of the test to conserve time and other test-taking strategies.

Furthermore, students need to learn the difference between the SAT and ACT test. One difference is the ACT penalizes a student for leaving a question blank, while the SAT does not.

In November, Cape Coral instructor Sally Reese will hold “The Write Stuff,” her own SAT preparation course focusing on the essay section. It will teach organization and clarity, as well as review critical reading, vocabulary and grammar.

Students will meet over four Mondays for $12 a session or $50 for all four classes. Since the class is progressive she recommends that students attend all four.

Reese, a former English teacher, said she has been privately tutoring students for some time, but decided to offer low-cost test preparation because of the state of the economy. She explained that SAT or ACT scores could decide whether a student receives vital grants or scholarships.

“Those scores can be critical in getting a grant or scholarship,” said Reese. “It’s a stressful situation and there is a lot of competition.”

She said each session will focus on one aspect of writing from brainstorming to writing a concluding sentence. Further, she recommends students register early and obtain a copy of Barron’s “How to Prepare for the SAT.” Used copies are available online for only a few dollars.

To register for The Write Stuff, contact the Rotary Park at 549-4606.