Local businesses and websites provide reasonably priced SAT tutors

The CollegeBoard offers multiple ways to prep for the SAT, online or in print.

Courtesy of collegeconfidential.com

The CollegeBoard offers multiple ways to prep for the SAT, online or in print.

Illana Arougheti, Eastside News/Features Editor

Although 2017-2018 class schedules began to arrive in the mail days ago and camps all around the
county are nearing their final weeks, East students still have a few weeks left to enjoy kicking back and
relaxing in the August heat. Summer is a time for nothing to worry about except for sunny skies, cold ice cream and clear pools – and, of course, summer reading charts, maybe history assignments and chemistry practice packets, plus the looming reality of upcoming SAT dates if you’re an upperclassman.

With the days still so warm and school still so far away, many East students, underclassmen in particular will probably find it easy to disregard this article as whatever the written form of a buzzkill is and return to happily ignoring the thought of the summer reading packet buried under a pile of papers somewhere, along with back-to- school shopping ads and other such annoyingly early school-related paraphernalia, at least for a couple more weeks. But with the first SAT date of the year coming up on August 26 th and the constant stream of college emails likely still trickling in from the PSAT email list, circa last October, the driving necessity of beginning to seek out some sort of SAT preparation course is one reality that upperclassmen may not be keen to dismiss so easily. Several sessions of the SAT take place in Cherry Hill high schools every year, and 32% of East students take it annually. This figure is significantly higher than both the New Jersey average of 25% of high school students taking the SAT annually, and the national average of 20% of high school students taking the SAT annually. By these figures, there are definitely at least a few East test takers out there who might see it fit to start thinking about seeking out some sort of SAT prep program in preparation for one of the seven sessions of the SAT that will be offered nationwide this year.

Dr. Fred Zhang of PrepScholar, one prominent test prep organization, recommends a minimum of ten
hours of practice before each SAT, which can be spread out over a number of months as the test-taker
sees fit. And there are certainly a number of organizations around Cherry Hill which would be happy to
outfit any wayward young student with all of the practice questions, study hours and sample exams that
their little heart desires – all for a nice hefty fee, ranging from a flat $250 for a four-day, fourteen-hour
district-run SAT prep workshop ($450 if you want help with both the math and the language portions) to $82 an hour for tutoring at Huntington Learning Center, one of the many iterations of privately owned test tutoring franchises around town (see also: Y2 Academy, Sylvan Learning). Each of these pay-for-prep options certainly has its advantages, from the one-subject- at-a-time approach to the district seminars, to the individualized attention that private tutoring provides, to the infamous rigor of Y2’s boot-camp-like summer program. But what if you’re just looking for a little free practice to brush up on your SAT skills on your own time?
There has yet to exist some magic potion that you can drink to bump your IQ a few dozen points the night before the exam (and if it did, it would probably fall into the high-cost column rather than the free
resource one). However, there are some easy-to-use free resources out there that I’d recommend to fellow upperclassmen looking for practice exams without a price tag. There are a zillion practice-question sites just one Google search away, although the legitimacy of every single one is doubtful, as everything found in a Google search definitely has the potential to be sketchy as I’m sure we all know. Here I’ve gathered three free practice resources with good reputations that I encourage everyone to think about checking out before the big test day, whenever it may be for you, arrives.

A. The College Board: The official company which runs the SAT. This organization’s digital
homepage acts not only as the digital portal where students can access past exam scores and
register for future test sessions, but also where a multitude of free, full practice exams, can be
found. As the College Board website puts it, “practice is the new prep.” They also offer a free
app, Daily Practice, which gives hints and explanations for wrong answers as the user takes tests
through its interface. Full exams can be found at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat,
within the Resources bar, and Daily Practice can be found wherever you buy your apps.

B. Khan Academy: When it comes to the SATs – or prep for any school subject, or even for
materials for homeschooling – Khan Academy is honestly a lifesaver. Founded by Salman Khan
in 2006, and now associated with an actual school campus, the 2014-founded Khan Lab School in
Mountain View, California, this education nonprofit offers prep, practice questions and even full
tests, all for free. The organization partners with the College Board to give every user the
potential for a personalized prep experience – one can either upload PSAT or practice scores from
the college board directly to a Khan Academy account or take diagnostic tests directly from Khan
to determine which areas they need the most practice in, be it a certain type of math problem or a
certain critical-thinking skill. You start either at a level two or level three difficulty with each
little practice widget depending on your diagnostic performance and then work up to a level four,
indicating increased proficiency with the test. And if you don’t feel like hands on work, there are
also a ton of YouTube videos published by Khan that can help you with each test skill. www.khanacademy.org

C. Princeton Review: Unlike the first two resources listed, the Princeton Review isn’t directly
associated with the College Board. However, it does provide free full SAT practice tests, either
online or in person, with a number of free practice test sessions offered throughout the year in
multiple states, New Jersey included. Generally, the site is known for test help and admissions
help; it’s a good place to look up a certain college of your choice and understand what sort of
academic performance might be needed to get in. Along with the free full tests, the Review does
also offer some for-cost tutoring and prep services. www.princetonreview.com

D. BONUS: Aside from offering its payment-based summer course, the Cherry Hill School District
does offer some forms of help in the SAT prep department if you know where to look. Some of
you might have signed up for the SAT prep elective this year, which is one semester long and
focuses in on both the math and language arts sections individually for a few weeks each. The
district also administers the PSAT to tenth and eleventh graders, the latter of whom are eligible
for Merit Scholarship programs based on said PSAT, for no cost.
Good luck, and… well, maybe not happy prepping, but…here’s to an easy prep season!