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My journey trying to understand why and how 7th graders take the SAT

September 28, 2010

My memories of the SAT exam are few.  We showed up to the gym on a Saturday with a pencil and a calculator and took a really long test.  We compared the colleges we sent the scores to more than the results and we certainly did not study for the experience.

Now my 7th grader is being invited to not only take the SAT, but to take practice tests and even take 15 hours of classes to prepare for the exam.  Which by my understanding doesn’t even involved college acceptance yet, it is for the Duke Talent Search.  I appreciate the opportunities that Duke is providing our bright students.  I’ve heard from a local mom that one of the summer camps was an amazing academic experience for her daughter. I found lots of information about the summer opportunities at http://www.tip.duke.edu/talent_searches/grade_7/index.html

I interact with a number of mom’s of gifted kids here in Coppell.  I started getting questions about the Duke SAT practice verses the practice tests offered at CMS West for Project Graduation – here is the scoop as far as I know understand it………….

If you have a qualifying student (most of GT identified kids qualify), you got a notice in the mail from Todd Kettler.  This qualification allows you to participate in the Duke Talent Search for 7th graders.  This SAT test is not just practice for the future, but also a certain score allows you to attend summer stuff and probably gets you lots of mail in the 10th grade from colleges.

You can go blindly into the SAT test ($70) or you can take a practice test first provided by Knowsys ($25) on November 17th.  Knowsys then gives you the results of their practice (December 1) and provides 5 training classes on how to take the SAT and improve your score.  Similar to what is done in high school, but all of this is designed with the 7th grader in mind. ($150).  The last of their classes is the week before the real Duke SAT exam which is given January 22, 2011.

There is an informational meeting on Oct 14th, CMSW in the Library at 6:30pm about all of this.  Parents and students are invited to go.

We must register separately for these exams and courses.  First, register for the Duke Talent Search – you will select a testing location and the date you want to take the test.  You can actually take either the SAT or the ACT, but only the SAT is offered at Coppell HS.  To take the ACT, you will need to drive to Irving or Flower Mound.  Register at www.tip.duke.edu/7enroll.

To register for the Practice Test or the Practice Test plus 5 classes, you will register thru Todd Kettler’s office with Melissa Mahan.

Additionally, Open to all 7th and 8th graders are practice tests offered by Knowsys.  These support Project Graduation and are offered about 5-6 times during the year.  There are ACT and SAT practice tests offered for ($25).  There are not follow-up classes.  These practice exams provide additional flexibility for dates if the Nov 17th time does not fit your schedule.  I found additional information in my student’s middle school weekly newsletter.

As confusing as this is, I am thankful that we have a district that promotes these things.  I assume there are a number of school districts that expect you to discover these opportunities on your own.

For parents that have been through this before, please share your insight and feedback in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

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