ATC – Academic Test-Prep LLC
561 – 633 9702



As you are probably well aware, the SAT/ACT are for most students the single most important tests in their high school careers. With the competition to top colleges even more fierce, these tests have become a greater determinant of admissions and scholarship decisions than ever before. We look at this as an opportunity for any student with an open mind and a willingness to achieve. Despite the format change and "recentering", the SAT test remains coachable. So long as you have had a semester of Geometry and a semester of Algebra I, you have the tools to take advantage of our classes.

Why a Good SAT / ACT Score Is More Important Than Ever

Nicholas Lemann said in a PBS Frontline interview, "A good school puts you in the way of more opportunity." Since getting to a good school now involves standardized tests, the modern motto might just as well be "a good SAT score puts you in the way of more opportunity."

Colleges value standardized tests more than ever. Every once in a while you hear about a college announcing that it is placing less importance on the SAT. (The few that dropped SAT altogether got big press.) But quietly, over the last 15 years, more and more colleges have EMPHASIZED high test scores.

College admissions offices compete with one another for applicants. The most prominent survey, US News, makes SAT score a huge category in ranking the schools. Incoming GPA is not ranked in the US News survey. This means that students with high GPAs often lose in the admissions game to students with lower GPAs but higher SAT or ACT scores.

Admissions offices also compete by offering the strongest candidates money, and the last 15 years have seen the flowering of MERIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS. Prior to 1990, scholarship money was awarded only to athletic recruits and to students with high financial need. Today, almost every competitive 4-year college awards scholarships to entice academic talent, and the assessment thereof is the SAT / ACT score.

Athletic recruiters use the SAT more than ever. NCAA requirements propel coaches to leave promising recruits off their lists if they do not have strong scores.

Finally, the brave new world of employment screening has already infiltrated high schools. Some employers are demanding SAT scores from job applicants. Even seasoned professionals who took their SATs in the 1980s are being asked for their SAT scores.

Conclusion: students with high aspirations should not overlook the importance of a good SAT / ACT score. Schools should provide direct SAT coaching, because a good course can help students to 200+ point improvements, which can significantly open opportunities.

ATC Plan

Scheduling the SAT test:

We have one piece of advice that far too many guidance counselors don't follow, and on this one we know we're right: START EARLY. Colleges do not penalize an applicant for taking the SAT two or three times. The SAT is not a test that rewards skills acquired only in Senior year. The only academic background needed to take advantage of the Accent Testing course is a semester each of Algebra I and Geometry. Since most students have this by tenth grade, there is nothing wrong with taking the SAT test at the end of 10th grade or the beginning of 11th. We like to see kids sitting on solid SAT scores by winter of Junior year. That frees them to concentrate on their academics in Junior spring and Senior year. It also frees them to take the courses they really want to. Strong scores earned early allow students more fervent participation in the extra-curricular activities. The confidence a strong SAT score bring just may allow the kids to have FUN, which we're in favor of too.

SAT IIs (soon to be called "SAT Subject Tests"
The SAT IIs are what many of us remember as "Achievement Tests". These are one-hour tests that assess proficiency in history, advanced math, the sciences, English, and most languages commonly offered in schools. Twenty years ago the Achievement tests had little or no relevance on college admission decisions - they were primarily used for advanced placement purposes. Now, top tier colleges expect to see strong scores on at least two, and typically three, SAT IIs.

The SAT IIs are given on the same dates as the SAT I. Students can choose to take one, two or three SAT IIs on any of six dates during the year. We do not recommend three tests at a time, mainly because concentration tends to fall off in the third hour. Students who wish to take three or more SAT IIs can spread these out.

Since the SAT IIs cannot be taken on the same test date as the SAT I, planning ahead is key. On SAT II subjects that require lots of memorization, it is often good to schedule them to coincide with the end of a semester, when the student has to review for finals anyhow, or at the beginning of the following semester, to have the benefit of the complete curriculum plus some review time. Thus we like seeing students scheduling SAT IIs for June, December, and January.

Most kids have less academic work in the summer. For this reason, summer classes tend to be the best time to concentrate on SAT test preparation. Since the SAT is largely a test of skills, rather than memorization, there is little diminution in abilities, even with a two month hiatus between the summer classes and test day.
We don't want to replace your school guidance counselor, particularly if she or he is a college admissions specialist. The scheduling suggestions above should only be taken on with the individual's schedule in mind, and perhaps with the school's as well.

A Sample Plan:

  • Sophomore year, October: take PSAT to get used to the test taking environment and to assess whether to take a prep course next summer.
  • Sophomore year, June: take SAT IIs for one or two subjects in which you have done well but will not be continuing with next year.
  • Summer prior to Junior year: prepare for the SAT I and perhaps the PSAT as well.
  • Junior year, October: take PSAT for real.
  • Junior year, October, November or December: take SAT I.
  • Junior year, December, January or March: take SAT I again, with the goal of adding on another 50+ points.
  • Junior year, May or June: take two other SAT IIs in subjects where you have done well.
  • Summer prior to Senior year: travel if you have the opportunity. Do some work though, even if you don't need the money.
  • Late summer: visit college campuses that are back in session.
  • Senior fall, if necessary: take the October SAT. That's early enough to apply Early Decision to any college.



ATC Academic Test Preparation, Tutoring, Consulting LLC
PO Box 212 573
Royal Palm Beach, Fl. 33411
561-633 9702
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