SAT Prep: Practice Makes Perfect!


Jaymie Paredes

Yasin Karim ’21 believes that self studying for the SAT is an effective strategy because he values the freedom that it provides for him.

In an academically rigorous environment such as Bronx Science, it’s no doubt that many students place a heavy emphasis on grades. An even heavier emphasis, however, is placed on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, more commonly known as the SAT, because of the large role that it plays in college admissions. In preparation for this exam, high school students around the country must make a decision between taking formal SAT prep classes or simply self-studying. Although there is no wrong or right way to study,  Bronx Science students who are currently taking the SAT’s prefer certain methods of studying to ensure success. 

On one hand, students who take formal test prep classes feel that the atmosphere is beneficial to their learning experience. “It’s harder for me to study by myself because I have so many distractions at home,” said Anthony Ton ’21. Test prep centers do not only provide a haven for studying.“Test-prep binds you to a stricter, more rigid schedule focused on producing high scores in the most efficient and meaningful manner possible,” said Jane Chen ’21. An environment that is strictly meant for studying for the SAT provides students with the ideal conditions to focus and learn in a timely manner. As a result, they are more motivated and dedicated to achieve their goal. 

In addition to the environment, students who prefer formal prep classes value that those  who help them prepare are accomplished teachers. “A test prep program has knowledgeable and experienced teachers who can tailor [my learning experience] to my strengths and weaknesses,” said Chen. Ton agrees that the teachers, as well as the students, are additional resources that enhance the prep experience. “I get to learn about things in a way that I would never have thought of originally,” said Ton. 

On the other hand, students who choose to study on their own feel that test prep is not imperative to score high on the SAT. “Based on past knowledge of the SAT and its topics, I believed that there really wasn’t much that a test prep center could do to help me,” said Yasin Karim ’21. Students who are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses do not necessarily believe that they need outside help from test prep centers. Although Ton and Chen feel that they receive an extra boost in motivation from the environment at the test prep center, other students prefer to study in the comfort of their own homes. 

Unlike Chen, Carissa Wu ’21 dislikes the regimented structure of test prep centers.  “[By self-studying] you can go at your own pace, it’s free, and you can decide your own breaks or choose to eat a snack while studying,” said Wu. In addition, while Ton benefitted from hearing different perspectives, Wu felt that being in a classroom with other students would have a detrimental effect on her studying. “There are always students who ask questions about the problem in which you already know and the teacher takes a lot of time answering them,” said Wu. She feels that her time would be wasted by going over information that she already knows.

In the diverse Bronx Science community, students are open-minded enough to consider the perspectives of others. On one hand, Ton and Chen acknowledge that money may be a factor that discourages students from taking test prep. “My dad had only spent money on buying test books which included tips and tricks to do better,” said Karim. Self-studying is a much more cost-effective alternative to taking formal test prep since the expenses are substantially reduced. On the other hand, Wu believes that some students may not have made the choice to take test prep themselves. “A lot of parents force their kids to go to prep courses since they think that’s the only way for them to get a good score,” said Wu.  

The best method of test prep varies from student to student. However, it is important to look at the big picture. As cliche as it sounds, it is important to remember that there is so much more to life than SAT scores and the numbers on your transcript. Best of luck, Bronx Science!

The best method of test prep varies from student to student.