Frequently Asked Questions
I'm a 10th-grader; will this class be helpful to me?
Yes! Taking our class as a 10th-grader puts you a step ahead of the curve for the College Application process. Our SAT course, in particular, will prepare you for the PSAT, increasing your chances of receiving a National Merit award and giving you a leg up on the SAT.
Both the SAT and the ACT are entirely learnable skills like anything else. Think of practicing for a sport or playing the piano – preparing early on gives you a distinct advantage.
Why pay so much for an SAT or ACT course?
Our SAT and ACT programs provide comprehensive in-depth preparation for tests that can directly impact a student’s future. Most colleges and universities award scholarships–up to $25,000 in some cases–for a student’s high test scores and National Merit awards. Some schools, in fact, use SAT and ACT results as a marker in determining whether or not applicants are eligible for scholarships. Between these scholarships and the career advantage that top schools provide, our course more than pays for itself in the long run.
With 2 dedicated teachers who know the test inside-out and only 15 students per class, each student receives the individual attention they need to make huge gains on the SAT or ACT.
SAT vs. PSAT - What's the difference?
The SAT and the PSAT are similar tests. The two most obvious differences are that the SAT is much longer, typically 3 hours and 45 minutes to the PSAT’s 2 hours and 10 minutes, and that the PSAT contains no essay. Otherwise, the basic structure and question types are identical.
However, there are a few differences in content between the two tests. The SAT Math section, for example, covers a few Functions topics from Algebra II that aren’t tested by the PSAT, since most students haven’t encountered them yet by the Fall of their junior year. Since the PSAT is administered a few weeks before the SAT, our Fall course specifically targets the information students need to master for that test first, and covers the SAT-only material after the students have taken the PSAT.
SAT vs. ACT- How do I know which one is right for me?
Many schools recommend that their students take both the SAT and ACT and we couldn’t agree more. While many students don’t show a clear preference for either test, finding out if you do can present a big advantage.
If you haven’t taken both tests yet or don’t have the time to, we we offer a free 2 hour diagnostic test that samples all sections of the SAT and ACT. Request our test using the signup form and receive the test by email. Our teachers will grade your test, send you a score breakdown and, based on your performance, recommend one test for you to focus on.
What kind of score improvement can i expect?
All of our students improve! On average, we see 130-150 point increases on the SAT, and 4-5 point increases on the ACT.
What about sports and other conflicts?
Many of our students are also athletes, and occasionally have games or practices that prevent them from coming to class. The best way to handle this is to let us know in advance.
Since Alexander Academy usually teaches 4 to 5 sections in any given week, in most cases catching the student up is an easy fix. Students simply come to a section that meets later in the week where we cover the same material that they have missed. In cases where this isn’t possible, our teachers will find a convenient time to schedule an individual makeup session. We know our students have busy schedules, so the first makeup is complementary.
For students who can’t commit to the class, we also offer 1-on-1 tutoring and SAT and ACT workshops to accommodate students’ schedules. Please contact us if you are interested in one of these options.
What are the “info sessions” and when are they available?
Every Alexander Academy semester begins with a free info session. We give a brief 30-minute presentation on the SAT and ACT and programs that we offer, followed by a Q&A session.
We always enjoy the opportunity to meet students and parents face-to-face, so we strongly encourage interested students and parents to join us with any questions you might have. We look forward to meeting you soon!
How did the SAT change in 2016?
The short answer is the new SAT is a lot like the ACT. The English/Grammar sections are essentially the same, the SAT essay is now optional, and students no longer have points subtracted for incorrect answers.Some other changes include a new “no calculator” math section, an emphasis on algebra over geometry, and math topics like trigonometry and imaginary numbers that were previously included on the ACT but not the SAT. The Reading and Grammar sections now also include graphs and charts that students must interpret.
Should I get tutoring specifically for the PSAT?
Our joint SAT/ACT class prepares students for the PSAT as well. However, many students (especially those with high 10th grade PSAT scores) will be vying for National Merit Scholarships based on their 11th grade PSAT scores.
For students within “striking distance” of National Merit cutoffs, targeted tutoring sessions are a great way to maximize your chances of achieving a National Merit score. We recommend at least 5 sessions.
Why Does your class teach both THE sat and act together?
Over the years, we consistently found that the students in our longer joint courses, had the largest score increases. There are many reasons that explain this, the obvious one being the added class time and additional practice tests. But there is also a great deal of overlap between the SAT and ACT and very likely a synergistic effect in preparing for both. For example, studying for the ACT Science section can be a big help for students who struggle with the graphs and plots found in the SAT Math section.
Additionally, the timing of the joint course seems to work very well for Juniors, with the majority of their test prep done by January, in time for both the Spring ACT and SAT tests.
What is a “good” SAT/ACT score?
There is no one answer to this question, so the best response is to take a look at your student’s desired colleges, and their “middle 50”. The “middle 50” is the score range in which most accepted students fall each year. Here are some current “middle 50” ranges for a few different schools!
University of Georgia: 1320-1490 SAT, 28-33 ACT
Georgia Tech: 1390-1530 SAT, 32-35 ACT
Georgia State: 970-1170 SAT, 20-26 ACT
Harvard University: 1460-1590 SAT, 32-35 ACT
Williams College: 1410-1550 SAT, 32-35 ACT
Wake Forest University: 1310-1470 SAT, 29-33 ACT
What role does the Sat/act play in college admissions?
SAT and ACT scores are a way of standardizing student applications across the nation, regardless of high school rigor and ranking. They are considered one of the “Big 3” in college applications, along with your high school curriculum and transcript. Strong SAT and ACT scores are not a guarantee for admissions, but are a good way to open the door. Many schools also use test scores to determine eligibility for merit-based scholarships and honors programs.