• October 21, 2019

GETTING A HEAD START: Boot camp offers PSAT, SAT strategies - Odessa American: ECISD

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GETTING A HEAD START: Boot camp offers PSAT, SAT strategies

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 5:48 pm

Tips and tricks on how to get through the PSAT standardized test were laid out during a PSAT Boot Camp hosted by Ector County Independent School District at Gregory Williams Hall this week.

Students could be incoming sophomore or juniors. There were two groups of students — the first group had 23 students and the one Thursday had 16, Director of Advanced Academic Services Omega Loera said.

The math portion was taught by Ray Mata from Odessa High School and the English, reading and writing section was led by Tracy Gomez, who teaches the Princeton Review class for the district.

Gomez offered strategies like using your personal order of difficulty — working from most difficult to least for you; using the “letter of the day” — selecting a letter to fill in the answers you don’t know on the test; and process of elimination.

If you select the wrong letter to fill in the bubbles with on the test, Gomez said you aren’t penalized, a rule that was changed a few years ago.

Gomez said she has received good feedback on the sessions.

“The first day I had a parent message me that her daughter knows she could improve her SAT score. They really enjoyed the math section, too,” she said.

Gomez added that the strategies work for the PSAT and SAT, plus regular exams.

Loera said another boot camp will be held next summer because even though there weren’t many students this year, the students who attended will let their peers know about it.

“It’s very beneficial, especially (for) the ones with athletics and band. I know at OHS the IB (International Baccalaureate) kids, their schedules are so packed that they can’t take it during the regular semester so it benefits them especially,” Gomez said.

She added that, as with football, you can’t just show up to the game Friday night without practice. Students have to work the questions and strategies for the test.

“This book has eight practice tests. They can sit there and maybe do a section a day …,” Gomez said.

The reading section is longer, but students can tackle some of the shorter ones. The book also tells students what the correct answer is and why, Gomez said.

OCTECHS juniors Aliye Kocak and Marco Ornelas, both 16, and Cade Mendoza, a 17-year-old OHS senior, said the sessions were useful.

Kocak said it has shown her and her peers the SAT structure and what to expect. It has also taught her new strategies to get through it.

“… I already had a few Princeton reviews, so I pretty much know all the stuff that’s being taught right now but the teachers have the 6.0 version, apparently, and the strategies we were taught yesterday showed me new stuff that I didn’t know,” Kocak said.

Ornelas said it gave him a chance to learn more about the SAT and how to get a better score.

“I scored mostly average and I wanted to get much better than that, so this has perfectly led me to do things like math because I had a lot of trouble with the math section,” he said.

Mendoza said what he’s learned will simplify everything.

“We also get two new books. One of them is from the College Board directly, so you get like a book from the system. We have, again, latest version of Princeton Review,” Kocak said.

“Not only that, we have eight SAT tests in the books that they’re giving us so we’ll be able to constantly practice and get it down eventually,” Ornelas added.  

Kocak said the Princeton Review has online resources and if you register your book number, you can get items like extra videos and tutorials. She said the same thing is available through College Board.

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