Hoping to ease the pressure surrounding SAT testing, high schools in the Haslett, Okemos and Williamston implemented preparatory programs to increase student confidence levels.
Credit: Mikayla Temple
Williamston High School prep
Prior to taking the SAT, Williamston High School offers six to seven prep workshops after school. The school’s honorary math club, Mu Alpha Theta runs the workshops.
Joe Rasmus, a Williamston High School math teacher, typically runs the extra classes, however, senior student leaders in the math club will occasionally lead them when he is unavailable.
The workshops typically last an hour, going over key pieces of the SAT. The main focus of the hour is on math because many juniors find this section to be the most stressful.
During the workshop, practice exams are distributed at the beginning of the hour. Students are then given time to answer the questions just like they would for an actual test. They are then given an answer key and go over any questions they may have to get a better understanding of the material that could appear on the test.
Juniors at Williamston High School like Ethan Ellis and Lucas Savage have attended almost all of Mu Alpha Theta’s workshops to help them feel better prepared for the test. Savage said he hopes to receive a high enough score on the test to attend Ferris State University, setting a goal for his scores.
SAT studying at Okemos High School
At Okemos High School, students prepare for the SAT as soon as their freshman year. From prepping for the PSAT to taking the SAT and even retaking the SAT, students study for the test through resources that may be outside of school such as tutoring programs and SAT prep books.
The balance of the scheduling that comes with school and extracurricular activities plays a key role in how early students are able to begin their preparation.
For student-athletes, establishing an effective studying schedule and determining an effective studying approach for the SAT is critical.
*For discretion purposes, student faces are not shown. Credit: Diana Camarena
Credit: Sam Britten
Haslett High School
Ethan Hunter, a junior at Haslett High School, is preparing to take the SAT, a test that will help determine where he goes to college.
The recent college bribery scandal has provided a better understanding of what admissions officers see as long-term impacts on college applications as well as how, at times, parents can be the ones stressed out about getting their kids into schools.
The two viewpoints on the college scandal are polar opposites. Some parents and students might be happy about this because it could show colleges that once students get into these schools, they do fine. Getting in is the hard part, but school isn’t an issue. On the other hand, some parents and students might be upset about this scandal because all the hard work, effort and money they put into SAT prep went out the window.
An admissions expert opinion on the scandal also provided a better idea of what an admissions expert might think about this scandal.
SAT performance by district
Credit: Emily Bevard
In Okemos, traditionally high test averages and demanding classes relieve much of the stress around standardized testing and leave room for additional pressure placed on AP exams and extracurricular activities.
Chrissy Schoonover, a math and AP Statistics teacher at Okemos High School, said the spring semester is a crazy time of year in terms of demand on students. AP exams occur as spring sports and clubs finish out their end of the year activities, the desire to stand out on college applications pushes students to fit in everything they can at once.
“Spring is crazy because it’s that last quarter,” said Schoonover. “It’s just a really busy time of year so they’re being pulled with all of that and then you throw in the standardized tests at the end.”
Further, she said, for some students, the SAT covers material outside the reach of their classes.
“There’s some trigonometry on the test that my juniors don’t see until after the exam, so they’re at a disadvantage just because of where that’s at in the scope of their learning,” said Schoonover. “We try to rearrange it but … it’s not helping them, they’re not ready to grasp it because they’re missing a few of the fundamentals in front of it.”