PSAT and SAT Preparation
PSAT and SAT Boot Camps
Reach High Scholars Program offers courses to help RHS students prepare for the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (“PSAT”) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (“SAT”) college admission tests. The courses are conducted by Academic Approach (http://www.academicapproach.com/), a national company that provides test preparation in classrooms, on-line and through individual tutoring sessions. Their clients include public schools, charter schools and private day and boarding schools and they work with students from a wide range of economic backgrounds.
The courses take place at RHS on Saturday mornings during the fall and early winter. In the fall, there is a three-week PSAT course for sophomores and juniors and a four-week SAT course for seniors. In the winter and spring, there is a 14-week SAT course for juniors. The courses are open to all RHS students. The fees are very modest compared to comparable courses offered elsewhere and there are possible reduced prices based on household income.
No preparatory course is offered currently for the American College Tests (“ACT”).
The New PSAT and SAT Tests
Redesigned versions were introduced, for the PSAT test, in October 2015 and, for the SAT I test, in March 2016. The new versions of the tests correspond with high school curriculums and better reflect what students have learned. The PSAT and SAT I tests use similar types of questions and each of the two sections, Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, are scored on the same 200-to-800 scale, thus enabling students and educators to track progress. The essay required in the past is now optional and scored separately.
The revised tests draw heavily from the Common Core math and reading benchmarks adopted by most states, including NH. The tests emphasize evidence-based interpretation of texts, vocabulary used in colleges and careers and depth-over-breadth math skills. By focusing on higher-level logic and reasoning, they are more relevant to college success and everyday life.
The NH Mandatory SAT Test
The NH Department of Education announced that, starting in 2016, it will use the new SAT I as the statewide assessment for juniors (instead of the Smarter Balanced Assessment) to meet federal requirements. Hence, a mandatory SAT I test is given to all juniors at RHS and throughout NH in March and the scores are submitted to colleges along with the scores on later test dates.
The State uses the scores on the mandatory test to compare NH high schools. Good results by RHS students will move the school up in the rankings, which can have positive impacts on the attitude of college admissions offices toward RHS applicants, the ability to hire and retain good teachers, local real estate values and the general morale in the school and community. The winter SAT Boot Camp of Reach High Scholars Program is one of just two on-site SAT prep courses leading into the NH mandatory test.
The Reach High Scholars Program will grant the following awards to RHS students based on their scores on standard college admission tests:
An award of $100 will be paid to any student whose best scores on each section of the SAT I test total at least 1,350 (even if obtained on different test dates). The Award also will be given to any student who has a score of at least 30 on the ACT.
The Randy Carlson Award of $100 will be paid to any student who increases his or her best-combined SAT I score by more than 240 points above the score achieved on the first attempt. Randy (RHS ’10) had the equivalent of that amount of improvement by taking the test four times. The Award also will be given to any student who increases his or her ACT score by more than six points above the score achieved on the first attempt.
The Will Harmon Award of $100 will be paid to any student whose best scores on each section of the test total at least 1,540 (even if obtained on different test dates). Will (RHS ’15) had the equivalent of that score. The Award also will be given to any student who has a score of at least 35 on the ACT.
The Randy Carlson Award and the Will Harmon Award will be renamed for successive winners.
• The Official SAT Study Guide, College Board
• The Official Study Guide for all Subject Tests, College Board
• Cracking the New SAT, Princeton Review
• Barron’s SAT 2400: Aiming for the Perfect Score, Linda Carnevale
• The Real ACT Prep Guide, ACT, Inc.
Timetable for Standardized Tests
Fall of Sophomore Year
• Prepare for and take PSAT
Fall of Junior Year
• Prepare for and take PSAT
• Start preparing for SAT I
Winter-Spring of Junior Year
• Prepare for and take SAT I twice in spring
• Take at least 3-4 SAT II tests
Senior Year Fall
• Last chance to retake SAT I and take more SAT II tests