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Students' Use of and Reactions to Alternative Methods of Preparing for the SAT SAT

Powers, Donald E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-80-30, RDR-80-81, No. 03
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Step by Step with Taking the SAT 1: Reasoning Test, Coaching, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Wiseness


A variety of courses, procedures, and materials are available to Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) candidates to help them prepare for the test. As potential consumers of these preparation resources, prospective examinees must decide which methods are most consonant with their own preparation objectives and which are likely to be effective. The sometimes conflicting claims and opinions of test sponsors, parents, and teachers, and of developers of test preparation resources may pose a dilemma for students and their counselors. This paper describes the incidence and patterns of use of various preparation resources in a large national sample of SAT candidates and presents examinee opinions regarding the usefulness of these resources. Data suggest that, although students exhibit a variety of attitudes about preparing for the SAT, most believe in the efficacy of some kind of preparation. This belief results in practical action, with most students preparing in some manner and a majority using more than one method of preparation. Although a large number of different styles were detected, a small number of patterns of use account for a substantial proportion of students' styles of preparation. (28pp.)

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