SAT and AP Club Provides a Free Source of Academic Assistance for Students

According to CollegeBoard, in 2022 more than 1.7 million students took the SAT exam. The SAT is a type of standardized test utilized by colleges to aid in decision making during the admissions process through a scaled scoring of the 3 hour exam. Historically, students taking an SAT exam have undergone paid preparatory courses in hopes of increasing test scores; a trend that has put the exam under scrutiny as prices for these prep courses can reach as high as two hundred dollars an hour, favoring higher scores in wealthier families that can afford these extra courses.

Naturally, students at Francis Lewis High School undergo this examination process every year, and as a result often turn to preparatory work to further hone their test-taking abilities. Consequently, a student-run SAT and AP club was launched, providing a free preparatory option for students.

“I agreed to advise the club because I think it is a great idea to teach students test taking skills,” math teacher and club advisor Ms. Voyiatzoglou said. “Not all students can afford prep classes and they’re sharing invaluable skills and methods.”

The SAT and AP club is a fairly new club where help with SAT examinations and AP classes can be found.

“We meet every week on Fridays,” club President and junior Jason Chen said. “There, we mainly have lessons; just emulating regular classrooms. We’ll also give out worksheets and assignments to the members after the lessons.”

As club President, Chen acts as a kind of “teacher” for the club’s classroom setting.

“As club president, I’m sort of like the teacher,” Chen added. “I go through the curriculum, teach the lesson, and print out the worksheets that the club completes. My role there is to help with any questions and guide discussions.”

The SAT exam consists of 4 sections, including: reading, writing, non-calculator math, and math with a calculator.

“For me, I struggle with the English sections,” sophomore and SAT club member Ryan Lin commented. “Reading passages really is not my thing. The SAT club makes it easier, giving us tips and tricks we can use in the sections that require reading passages.”

Conversely, SAT mathematics often poses challenges to many students as it differs from what is often taught in traditional math classes.

“I believe the SAT measures logic more than math ability,” Ms. Voyiatzoglou said. “Many of the questions have certain tricks to them and students need to think outside the box as opposed to just applying skills. As a result, the club prepares students by showing them different methods and ways to tackle problems.”

The assignments and practice work given in the club drive home the idea of repeated practice as a form of refining academic skills.

“I think the best way to study for the SAT is to do as many practice problems as possible,” Ms. Voyiatzoglou said. “Many times the same concepts come up again and again so it is best to be familiar with the format. And of course, do your homework.”

Outside of academic strategies, during club meetings, Chen will also share some of his general test-taking tips for taking on the three hour exam.

“For someone who is nervous, the best advice I have is that it’s okay to be nervous,” Chen suggested. “Also you should make sure you get enough sleep. Another thing that’s generally important is not over or under eating before the exam and staying hydrated.”

Overall, Chen’s efforts seem to have made a difference in the preparedness of those that frequent his club, with students overall feeling “more prepared.”

“These courses greatly helped my preparation for the exams,” Lin explained. “I feel that after attending the courses I gained a lot more insight into what I should know prior to taking my PSAT. In doing this, I think I’m more prepared for future tests in general.”

Aside from participation in the SAT Club, students also make use of  “practice tests” as a way to assess their readiness for the SAT.

“On top of going to SAT prep I’ll often be making use of practice tests online,” Lin added. “I feel like by working with these I get a better idea of my skill level, making me more confident in ensuring that I do well on my PSAT.”

While the club promotes many academic messages to students, Chen also pointed out a “general message” of the SAT and AP club. 

“It’s hard to pinpoint one specific message,” Chen notes. “A general life message I want to get out there is not to let your school work define you.”