by Carol Chandler-Wood
My son will enter 9th grade in the fall and I would like for him to begin preparing for the SAT so he can get into a good college. When do you suggest he begin preparing and what suggestions can you offer?
There is no question that when your son enters high school, it is time to be mindful that college is approaching. In 9th grade, his grades truly begin to count towards college admissions. So, starting from the very first semester in 9th grade throughout his high school career, your son would be wise to work diligently to make the highest grades possible in every core course; math, science, English, social studies, foreign language and psychology. So, at the end if each semester, if he has any course grade “on the bubble”, such as a 79% or 89%, it is important that he perform well on the exam so his final letter grade improves to the next level. Colleges use a student’s core GPA on a 4.0 scales as one of their criteria for admissions. If he takes an AP course, colleges will add an additional .5 to his grade. For example, when calculating his core GPA, if he makes a “B” in an AP course, a 3.5 will be given for that course.
In regards to college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT, he should begin now to prepare himself on the material presented on both tests. To do this, I would suggest he work to broaden his vocabulary, develop improved critical thinking and problem solving skills, begin to read for pleasure if he has not done so in the past, and improve his use of English grammar and writing mechanics. He can do this utilizing current educational software packages and by applying himself beyond his classroom teacher’s expectations in both his English and math courses at school. There are also printed materials which he can purchase at most local book stores, which provide a content review of the material on the SAT and ACT and practice problems of each type of question on the tests. Enrolling him into a comprehensive and professional SAT and ACT preparation course I would suggest he do sometime during his junior year, after he has completed the math courses which contain the topics assessed on both college entrance exams.
I wish him well during his high school career.