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Afterschool SAT Prep Helps Students Excel

Ms. Chopra's math SAT prep class.

Joseph Mazella

Ms. Chopra's math SAT prep class.

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I walk into the classroom and take a seat. Ms. Chopra already has an SAT book the size of an encyclopedia open. Students steadily walk in while Ms. Chopra greets them. Ms. Chopra’s friendly demeanor calms the anxious students down. They get started within five minutes, taking a practice test. The exhausted students tell me they are taking the SAT tomorrow.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, PreAP Algebra II and Precalculus teacher Reena Chopra hosts an afterschool SAT prep class. This class has been around for a very long time, according to Chopra.

“Actually, it was not my idea. It was a Bellaire high school thing”, Chopra said. “This class has been going on for a long time and I do not know who started this, but at present, Mr. Thornhill, Mr. David Thornhill, he is the Title I coordinater of Bellaire High School. He is the one who is in charge of the SAT program and there are two teachers who teach each part of it. I teach the Math section.”

In the class, they take practice tests and go over specific topics and questions. Junior Gabriela Montes de Oca says that they are all very supportive of each other.

“There are times when everyone else in the tutorials will know a subject or a specific answer to a question that I will not know”, Montes de Oca said. “It frustrates me but my classmates are very supportive and help me. Everyone helps out and supports each other. We have each other to learn about these things.”

Junior Jesse Ji says he did not know this class was a thing before going. According to Ji, it was a pleasant surprise when he found out this class existed.

“Finding out this class existed was completely by surprise.”, Ji said. “I did not know that this course was available, and I would have come earlier if I did. One day, I was passing by Ms. Chopra’s room and I saw my friend Alice Qiu. I peeked my head in and asked, ‘What is going on here?’. She said, ‘We are doing an SAT thing’. I said, “Wait, I did not know about this!”. So I joined and have been coming to these classes regularly ever since.”

Much of what is on the SAT is learned in Algebra II and prior classes. For Montes de Oca, she learned a lot of the material from Algebra II but still needed help.

“I knew a lot of it from Algebra II.” Montes de Oca said. “Going to these really helped me reinforce the formulas and ideas that I have already. They have also helped me learned things that I had not learned yet. I would not have known Statistics before taking this class.”

Many tutoring services out there offer SAT tutoring for a high price. Chopra explains how money affects the SAT.

“Sadly, money does play a factor.”, Chopra said. “If you can get a private tutor and if they know what exactly what weaknesses you have and they can help you, it is a definitely a big help. But, at the same time, you do not have to be rich to do well on the SAT. Tutoring is free here, as you can see. Plus, there are so many online resources.Also, if you do well in the math classes, you will be pretty prepared for the SAT. Most importantly, it is your hardwork. Money can help but money alone cannot do anything.”

Many people who try to excel in the SAT have many other time commitments. Ji explains how stress affects performance.

“For a lot of people, the SAT adds a lot of stress.” Ji explains. “When you are a junior, there are a lot of things to think about. You are beginning to think about college, you are taking a lot of AP classes, so when you have the SAT on top of that, it really stresses you out. Also, a lot of the time, you do not have a lot of time to study due to other time commitments. Stress definitely impacts your performance, both in school and on the SAT.”

For more information about these classes, please see Ms. Chopra or Mr. Wolf, both of whom teach SAT prep classes afterschool for Math and English and Reading respectively. Ms. Chopra’s classes are afterschool every Tuesday and Thursday and Mr. Wolf’s classes are afterschool every Monday and Wednesday.

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