We routinely meet people who want to raise their SAT scores more than just a few hundred points. In many cases, students raise their scores by several hundred points but want to have a better chance of gaining admission to top-tier schools, such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the Ivy League colleges and universities, and the like. Our standard advice is first to take the TestMagic SAT Omnia prep course. But what next? For most students, we suggest the SAT Propel class. For others, with specific areas to work on or with erratic schedules we recommend a one-to-one tutor for the SAT.
SAT Propel is an all-day class
SAT Propel is designed specifically for people who already have a solid understanding of the structure of the SAT and are familiar with the most commonly-tested areas of knowledge and specifically how those areas are tested. These people are generally those who have taken and completed our (or others’) SAT prep courses, but still want to raise their scores more. But there are many students who do best by doing practice and review. These students tend to be good test-takers, have an innate facility with tests, and always seem to score in the 90th and above percentiles on assessment tests and standardized tests. For these students, practicing the test and then having it explained in detail by a professional is vital and can lead to dramatic score increases.
In SAT Propel, an intelligent instructor explains the SAT that you just took
It is vital to practice the SAT at least a few times before you take the official test. Sure, you may know all the concepts in theory, but there’s that infernal time limit! And you may have corrected the grammar of your seventh-grade English teacher, but if you get hungry after three hours of testing and can’t concentrate, you need to know that. And then there’s what we call the “bad bubbler,” the student who understands the material, but doesn’t transfer that knowledge to perfectly concentric graphite circles on the answer sheet. These are all important reasons to practice your SAT before your SAT D-day.
Also vital is getting accurate explanations of the questions you missed or didn’t understand delivered to you by an intelligent, experienced, live teacher. The SAT does not publish explanations for the tests in the Official SAT Study Guide, and even if they did, those explanations may not be sufficient, as most explanations simply cannot cover all the questions that a student may have about the question. A live teacher can likely answer any question you have and explain in a way suitable for you. In short, there is no substitute for an intelligent instructor.
Only official SAT tests
After two decades of teaching standardized tests ranging from the SSAT for middle-school students to the GMAT and GRE for graduate school applicants, there’s one thing we know for sure–students simply cannot adequately prepare for any standardized test without taking as many official tests as possible, which is why the tests used in SAT Propel include only official SAT tests from the Official SAT Study Guide. Non-official SATs are like clones of dear Fido–they may look similar on the outside, but in truth, they’re just not the same. To an experienced instructor, they just don’t “feel” the same, and worse, the scores on these tests are frequently wildly inaccurate, in either direction.
A word of advice
SAT Propel is, as we have said, ideal for people who have a good level of familiarity with the SAT and are taking the test very soon, for example, in the next two months or so. We generally don’t recommend this class for people who are taking their SATs in six months to a year for a variety of reasons; for them, SAT Omnia or SAT Core may be a better option.