Clark Chronicle

Juniors take advantage of free SAT prep course

Junior+Abdullah+Hasan+completes+practice+problems+in+his+SAT+workbook%2C+provided+for+free+by+The+Princeton+Review.
Junior Abdullah Hasan completes practice problems in his SAT workbook, provided for free by The Princeton Review.

Junior Abdullah Hasan completes practice problems in his SAT workbook, provided for free by The Princeton Review.

Junior Abdullah Hasan completes practice problems in his SAT workbook, provided for free by The Princeton Review.

Ioana Ciuperca, Staff Writer

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“Are you guys excited?” Assistant Principal Dr. Brian Landisi enthusiastically asked the bleary-eyed juniors Wednesday after school. “No!” was their immediate and collective response.

The reason for their remaining on campus is a free SAT prep class offered by The Princeton Review. The $700 value course comes with three free workbooks, three Saturday SAT practice test days, and six Wednesday afternoon instructional classes, the first of which was on Jan 17.

This is the first time Clark Magnet is offering these classes, and they already look to be a big hit. “We reached the max number of people there can be—90,” said counseling clerk Becky Bondy. “The students either realize that this is a great opportunity or their moms bugged them to take it whether they like it or not.”

The former sentiment is shared by most of the 90 juniors. “I’ve been lagging a lot,” said junior Abdullah Hasan. “I’m a big procrastinator and I found this opportunity. It’s free. It’s great.” Many of the participants of this course are seeking motivation to begin studying for the SAT, which is seen as the gateway to their dream college. “I want to get a better score in order to get into a better college,” said junior Farah Eskender.

Instructor Miller writes the three essential acronyms on the board: POE, POOD, and LOTD.

However, sentiments dropped as the students caught a glimpse of the 850-page behemoth SAT workbook. “Practice test, practice test, practice test,” announced the substitute teacher Andrew Miller upon arrival. The juniors are further dispirited when discovering the fact that homework is not mandatory, yet heavily encouraged. Miller then launches into a “sobering” account of the importance of SAT scores for college applications, and how deadlines are closer than they seem. “You only have one semester left to bring your GPA up before you start applying to colleges,” said Miller. “It’s better to freak you out now than a week before admissions start.”

The class then continues with Miller outlining the key acronyms most useful in helping them boost their scores. These include POOD (Personal Order of Difficulty), POE (Process of Elimination), and most importantly LOTD (Letter of the Day). “Look deep inside yourself and find your letter of the day,” said Miller. “Once you find it, stick with it.” He details that there is a higher chance of getting the problems that would otherwise be left blank by bubbling in the same letter for them all.

The rest of the two hour and thirty-five minute session is filled with absorbing more tips and tricks on test taking, and then putting them to use on a couple practice problems. The steps that Miller goes through are at first seen as long, tedious and unnecessary by some of the juniors; but, Miller continues to repeat how important they are. “When all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem will start looking like a nail,” warned Miller.

After the class, the reactions were mixed. “I think this was a waste of time,” said Eskender. “I already know all of the things they talked about.” Others just took the class for the free books. “I stole an extra one so I can sell it on Amazon,” joked junior Brijal Shah.

According to Bondy, this course was not only offered to Clark, but to the entire GUSD school district free of charge. Many juniors from other GUSD schools have also participated in this course made available by The Princeton Review in order to promote their company.

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Juniors take advantage of free SAT prep course