Sadly, I have not been writing here recently, because my busy schedule has been holding me back from putting any new ideas to paper. Having a chance to sit down has given me the opportunity to really think about some of my most recent students and reflect on some of the biggest weaknesses I’ve seen from this past SAT season. The biggest weakness I noticed was in Math, and in almost every issue where I noticed this weakness I also found a relatively poor math background. This leads me to a very important recommendation that many parents and students should prepare for as they go through a high school career: most students should strive to complete a full year of Algebra II by the end of their junior year.
This seems like an obvious statement, but as schools have grown over the past decade, so have their academic departments and class varieties. Among some of the variety in the math department is the splitting of one full year of Algebra II into 2 years over the course of junior and senior years. That means that a student will not learn a good portion of Algebra II in time for the SAT’s, a huge detriment since Algebra II is the main source material for the SAT math section.
In the event that a student has not had a full year of Algebra II by the end of their junior year, one solution might be to start doing SAT prep and focus on honing the student’s existing math skills. Many students can actually do quite well with limited math knowledge if they practice regularly and learn to address some of their smaller mistakes.