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Estimating the Effects of Various Methods of Preparing for the SAT SAT

Powers, Donald E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-82-23, CBR-82-02
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Coaching, College Bound Students, Home Study, Motivation, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Wiseness


A national sample of Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) candidates was surveyed to determine the ways in which they had prepared for the examination. Candidates' SAT scores were retrieved from test files, along with selected background information that included rank in high school class and scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), which most students had taken about 8 months before they took the SAT. Exploratory analysis of the effects of combinations of of methods of preparation showed that various methods may interact in complex ways with other methods and with some student traits. Furthermore, self-selection may not be uniform across levels of ability and previous achievement and may depend on the candidates' selection of other methods of preparation. It is suggested that independent study (of either English or mathematics, or of test preparation books and test familiarization materials) may have an impact on test scores that is possibly as great as the effect of less-widely-available modes of preparation. It is also suggested that motivation may be a potentially important self-selection factor in quasi-experimental studies of special preparation. (Author/PN). (29pp.)

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