“So I didn’t understand why so many of them were enrolled in the optional SAT prep section of our summer program. Why would such impressive high achievers spend their summer nights storming through a massive SAT book? Many of them already took weekend SAT prep courses back home. Did they just think it was fun to time one another on practice sets?”
A story in the New York Times talks about a student from a modest background wondering why his rich co-students were taking summer SAT prep classes.
His family and friends from home thought it was weird that he went to “school” during his summers. His fellow students saw it otherwise; they saw summer academic programs as normal and enjoyable. They approached studying for the SAT with a near-professional intensity that was alien to him.
“I realized that they didn’t just want to score exceptionally well on the SAT. They were gunning for a score on the Preliminary SAT exams that would put them in the top percentile of students in the United States and make them National Merit Scholars in the fall.”
The majority of low- and middle-income 11th graders he knew didn’t even sit for the preliminary exams. Most took the SAT cold. Few were privy to the upper-middle-class secret: To get into elite colleges, one must train for standardized tests with the intensity of an athlete.
Yes, train with the intensity of an athlete. How do you do that?
What goals do we have for this summer?
It’s that time of the season. The end of school year is rapidly approaching and we must start planning for summer.
Not just a summer camp, but a summer opportunity.
Summer is a time for us to improve ourselves, whether it be athletically, socially, or academically. One way to best understand what we want to improve is by asking ourselves what we want from the year ahead. Are we looking to make the varsity team? Are we applying to high school or college? Are we developing an interest of ours? Do we want to serve our community?
Will the plethora of options out there, we do not have to limit ourselves to just one. Let make the most of our summer and manage our time accordingly.
Flexibility meets quality: The Hillview Prep difference.
At Hillview Prep, our summer programs are “modular”. What does “modular” mean exactly? It means that your program is designed to fit your schedule! Whether you have vacations planned, another summer camp, or just a less intense summer schedule, learning with us can be as flexible as you need. Whether you are looking for an SAT, HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, Math, or admissions planning summer camp, we are here to help!
Curious to learn more? Check out our summer classes at Hillview Summer Classes!
Testing is better than studying!
What?? You don't believe we said that. Do you? Yes, testing helps with retrieving of information. Think of filing away your important documents in your filing cabinet. How quickly can you retrieve the document you filed today, yesterday, or a few weeks ago? If you can retrieve the information quickly, you can answer questions on the SAT, ACT or any other test—or just be more productive in life. Thus, testing—in non stressful situations—is the best way to learn, because you practice retrieval of stored information.
Take notes by chunking and consolidating information.
Students who take Cornell style notes do not realized the importance of consolidation: it helps them to understand and practice how the brain works best. There's no need to review your book again—you can just review your 'consolidated notes'!
Why are Cornell style of notes important?
It helps you practice how to learn—putting information in chunks, helping your working memory, which has limited storage capacity. Working memory is like a computer's RAM. It is fast but has low storage capacity. Scientists believe you can put at most 'seven' units of information, though only three or four units is best. Think of it like having three or four storage shelfs.
Consolidation helps you deal with your working memory.
Clump similar things into one spot or shelf. Write things down and classify them. Classification helps with understanding and memorize things. Two processes: encoding and retrieval, which many people don't focus on.
Retrieval requires practice.
It is similar to filing things in your cabinet, but then not remembering where it is. What you never did was practice retrieval. Quizzing is therefore absolutely essential, and students need to be experts at practicing retrieval: at quizzing. Teaching is also a retrieval practice.
The PSAT is a two-hour test given once a year in October. Many students take the PSAT, not only as preparation for the SAT taken in senior year, but also to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.
As with the SAT, the PSAT has separate math and verbal sections and a third section testing English grammar. Each subject is scored on a scale of 20 to 80 and these scores are combined to create the National Merit Scholarship selection index.
Almost all students take the PSAT during their junior year, but many students take the PSAT when they are sophomores to get the feel of the test. However, it is only the scores from the PSAT taken in your junior year that are considered for the National Merit Scholarship competition.
This scholarship competition awards approximately 8,200 scholarships annually. The selection process starts with the choosing of National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists and Commended Scholars. Cutoffs vary from state to state but typically Semi-Finalists score in the top one percent of students in their state and Commended Scholars between the top one to four percent. Most of the approximately 16,000 Semi-Finalists become Finalists, and half of those ultimately receive National Merit Scholarships.
The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are: