ABCs of SAT and ACT

Monday, March 25, 2013

pencils (flickr user Dextera Photography (cc:by-sa))

John Katzman, educational entrepreneur and founder of The Princeton Review, answers questions about standardized college admission exams and offers advice on preparing for the tests.  Katzman's new educational tech start-up is Noodle.

Do you have a question about preparing to take the SAT or ACT exams?  Call 212-433-WNYC.


Further reading:

  • Washington Post Answer Sheet blog entry on the redesign of the SAT (2/26/2013)
  • Fair works to end reliance on the "mis-"use of the SAT and ACT in college admissions.  They maintain a list of schools that don't require either test for admission.
  • Malcolm Gladwell's 2001 essay on Kaplan SAT prep courses, "The Examined Life



John Katzman

Comments [7]

Noodle Education from New York, New York, United States

Hi Barbara - regarding your question, it really depends on each individual student. While John did mention at the beginning of the segment that he wouldn't always recommend students taking BOTH tests, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are some links that might be able to help you and your daughter make a decision - hope they help!


Mar. 25 2013 02:49 PM
Barbara McGuire from Denver, CO

Hello Brian,
Quickly...calling from Denver, CO...just arrived in office and caught last few minutes of your testing show...have a 16yr old daughter, junior in HS who scored a 31 on ACT in Jan...counselor at school not encouraging taking SAT; seems only ACT promoted in this part of country? (I am from OH and SAT more aggressively promoted when I was in HS) Wondering if your show expert would recommend that she also take SAT? Thank you, Barbara

Mar. 25 2013 11:06 AM
j rose from nyc

One tutoring company in Manhattan charges $150-$300 PER HOUR for private tutoring depending on the "experience level" of the tutor. 1x per week for the 6 months preceding the test would cost $7200 and there are parents lined up around the corner to pay this.

Mar. 25 2013 11:00 AM

I prepped myself with a book from the bookstore. Today I am a doctor...

Mar. 25 2013 10:57 AM
Kate from Washington Heights

The thing about these standardized tests is that it's the only way to take a huge group of students from all kinds of backgrounds and have *some* sense of how they compare, sort of objectively, to one another. Although there are tons of problems with them, they seem to be the only way to have some sense of how a kid from a small rural public school in Idaho compares to an urban Chicago kid who went to Catholic school.

Mar. 25 2013 10:56 AM
Bob from Westchester

The guest said test scores affect financial aid. Not true for the highly competitive schools, as the Ivies and vast majority of other top-ranked schools have only need-based financial aid. This is another canard the test industry uses to scare parents into paying for test prep courses.

Mar. 25 2013 10:54 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, $1000 for prep is still prohibitive for many families.
There are also non-profit options. Has John mentioned this? (Remember he was a pioneer in the exorbitantly-priced prep industry...)

Mar. 25 2013 10:52 AM

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