Adams SAT Studying Sessions


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Hand completing a multiple choice exam. The answer form was created by me and is not copyrighted.

Ben Allen, Reporter

On March 1, 2023, the current Junior Class of 2024 at John Adams High School participated in the Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as the SAT. The SAT is essentially a standardized test offered throughout the United States to help graduating students successfully make their way into college. At Adams, the SAT also serves as one of the three required graduation pathways when graduating from high school.

To help prepare this year’s SAT takers, the mathematics department at Adams created several SAT Prep Study Sessions, typically two days a week, leading up to the test. Notable teachers involved include Mr. Burkhart, Mr. Hardman, Mrs. O’Brien, and Teacher Rayburn.

During each of these study sessions, the teachers handed everyone involved a SAT Strategies Paper and three packets of review questions based on each category of the math portion. The SAT Strategies Paper gave the students several tips to use when taking the math portion of the test. The biggest thing students were told was that the SAT was designed to fail everyone. A big portion of reviewing was just to know how to increase the probability of getting a passing score even if the question does not make sense. In simple terms, if there are questions that will either take too long, or too complicated in general to work out, just make an estimated guess. However, for each of these estimated guesses, students learned it was important to put the same answer for each of these unknown questions. Students were also made aware that this tip would be crucial as for every math question, students would realistically have ninety seconds per question. The average student would not have the alloted time to figure out a problem in that short time span. Students were also made aware of the type of answers on each of the multiple choice questions. It was made important to note that of the four possible answers, one would always be a throwaway answer. In other words, it is an answer that has no relevance to the problem. If that answer can be identified, students then have a one in three chance of estimating correctly.

The three study packets were also very important. One contained problems that could appear similarly on the no calculator allowed section, one contained problems relating to the calculator section, and one contained solely geometry problems. These teachers also made students aware that the majority of the test was largely Algebra I based. This made the first two packets pretty simple. One was just reviewing typical Algebra I problems without using a calculator and the other was typical Algebra I problems using a calculator. The other small percent of the test was geometry based, which was the third packet. The Algebra I packets were important for not only review, but also for those that are in upper level math classes. For most of the upper level math students, they took Algebra back in middle school which was nearly four years ago. It was important for those students to go back and review those less complex problems.

These teachers that offered their services to help prepare the current junior class at Adams are greatly appreciated. They went over any and every problem that appeared on each of the packets and explained how to not only solve the problem, but how to strategically analyze each of the answers in the shortest amount of time. These teachers made a difference and their service will not be forgotten.

As someone who does not possess the best test taking strategies, it was nice that they gave some advice about how to increase the probability of guessing, as well as stating that wrong answers were not counted against you. I went to several of the sessions and they made it very comfortable to ask questions when reviewing questions and were always helpful when giving tips and tricks about how to solve questions quicker. I highly recommend that future SAT test takers attend a few of these sessions no matter what math class you are in.