Friday, October 08, 1999

Test season opens for college-bound

SAT results can impact students' education options

Asbury Park Press

        The SAT season is upon us. Tristate high school juniors and seniors will have their first opportunity this season to take the college-admission exam Saturday.

        This is the first of six national test dates for the exam, which is being given at several local sites. The SAT (which once stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test and later Scholastic Assessment Test and now are just a trio of letters that stand for nothing) is given seven times a year.

  Need help with the SATs? Check out these Web sites, books and software programs:

        • The College Board Web site:

        • The Princeton Review:

        • Crash Course for the SAT, Random House, $9.95.

        • The Princeton Review: Cracking the SAT & PSAT 2000 Edition, by Adam Robinson and John Katzman, Random House. $18 (book only), $29.95 (book and CD ROM).

        • SAT Math Workout, Random House, $15.

        • SAT Verbal Workout, Random House, $15.

        • 10 Real SATs, The College Board, $17.95.

        • One-on-One with the SAT: software program, The College Board, $29.95.

  SAT test dates in the 1999-2000 school year are: Saturday; Nov. 6; Dec. 4; Jan. 22; April 8; May 6; June 3.
        Whether high school guidance counselors admit it or not, the SAT score counts — a lot.

        “The importance of the test has certainly changed,” says Jeff Rubenstein, senior director of research and development for the Princeton Review, one of the nation's largest student services and test-preparation companies (and not affiliated with Princeton University). “College admission is so competitive today, it's unbelievable. And where you go is certainly going to depend on how well you score.”

        Part of reason the scores have become more important (after a decade or so of just being part of the whole admission equation) is because more students are attending colleges. And with a bigger applicant pool, college admission officers can afford to be more selective.

        “Just being a good student is no longer enough,” Mr. Rubenstein says. “These days everything counts — GPA, curriculum, extra-curricular ac tivities. And test scores are a large factor, the weight of importance is much greater.”

        In theory, the SAT is an objective test to determine how much you have learned and processed through the time you take the test (usually in your junior and senior years). But, in fact, argues Rob Cohen, owner/director of the Princeton Review, the SAT really doesn't measure much more than a student's ability to take the SAT.

        “The SAT is not an intelligence test or an aptitude test,” Mr. Cohen says. “It's a dumb test, like the kind you would find in the back of Games magazine. Your SAT score does not define you as a person.”

Tips on taking the SAT
Familiarity with SAT helps test-takers

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