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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Nonnewaug Introduces SAT Prep in Advisory to Help Students Get Ready

Maia Colavito
An SAT countdown banner hangs in the front lobby at Nonnewaug, helping to mentally prepare juniors for the March 27 test date.

WOODBURY — Advisory at Nonnewaug is the one time a week when students without study halls get to have a free period: to study, to relax, to talk to friends, or even to complete homework. 

Starting March 4, another advisory period will be scheduled Mondays leading up to the SATs on March 27 in order to prepare students — especially juniors — for the test.

“We realized there are probably things we can do to better prepare for SATs,” Nonnewaug principal Mykal Kuslis said. “The SAT is in a new format this year, so it’s kind of like NWEA: It does adjust itself to your skill level, [so] it’s an adaptive test. I think there’s two pieces to it: It’s getting kids ready for the new version of the test, and also getting them ready for some of the questions.”

This prep will increase every Monday in increments of 30 minutes, starting with an hour March 4, then 90 minutes March 11, and finally two hours March 18. During these preparation sessions, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will complete SAT practice activities on Khan Academy. Seniors won’t use these advisory sessions for test prep but rather will have time to use on scholarship applications and other activities.

It all leads up to March 27, when juniors will take the SATs and underclassmen will engage in other advisory-related activities on the half-day. Seniors will be allowed to use the day for post-secondary planning.

Although this advisory prep is a new accommodation, there is already existing SAT prep taught by English teacher Conor Gereg and math teacher Nicole Cowles, which is beneficial due to the genuine test experience involved in those sessions.

“It’s effective in that we look at retired SAT exams,” Gereg said, “and we simulate the timing of the exam to give students an authentic experience of what skills they’ll need on test day.”

Even though the juniors are the only ones who will be taking the real SAT on test day, the advisory sessions are geared towards all students except seniors.

“What this is coming out of is getting our juniors ready, but also giving underclassmen an opportunity to practice for the test as they go, and improve their skills before the real thing,” Kuslis said.

Sophomore Laila Jones, an underclassman looking to do her best on the SAT her junior year, hopes that these advisory sessions will help improve her future scores.

“I know that I still have another year before I take my real SAT,” Jones said, “but I want to do as much as I can to make sure that my scores reflect what I know and reflect my best effort.”

One of the most important focuses of these prep sessions is the new test format, so Nonnewaug administration wanted to make sure they were the most prepared they could be to assist students with any questions they might have.

“One of the things we saw was that every teacher is this building has not taken the SAT in its current format,” Kuslis said. “We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to see what it looks like now — very different. It was really eye-opening for teachers to see the questions and [these preps will] give them a better opportunity to help kids prepare for the test.”

These prep sessions are also unique to Nonnewaug with regard to the other Berkshire League schools, which Kuslis hopes will give students motivation to try their best on SATs and in turn reflect well on the school.

“We’re gonna have other incentives that are different from other BL schools, and we want people to get really excited about it,” Kuslis said. “We want them to show us what they know, per se, and the testing the following weeks will help us get ready for the upcoming real thing.”

About the Contributor
Maia Colavito
Maia Colavito, Junior Editor
Maia Colavito is a sophomore at Nonnewaug and is a junior editor for the NHS Chief Advocate. She is an athlete, playing soccer and track for NHS. This is her second year writing for the Chief Advocate, and she enjoys writing about a variety of news.
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