Sunday, August 9, 2009

A total racket

One of the things Meelyn and Aisling are going to be doing daily in school this year is an SAT preparation course. It not only teaches them the kinds of problems that they'll find when they sit the exam, but also teaches them how to take the test, which could only be a good thing to know.

For instance, did you know that you shouldn't do problems you don't know how to do on the SAT?

I mentioned this to Gary and Katie the other night when the Prince of Salesmen and I were having dinner with them and Gary looked at me thoughtfully and said, "Yes, that's the way it was when we took the SAT."

"I'm sure it was," I sighed. "And I'm sure someone told me. But it didn't compute in my head because I was too busy thinking about lip gloss and boys and wondering what level of death my parents would kill me to if I skipped school to go buy Van Halen tickets in Indianapolis. So I answered EVERY SINGLE QUESTION, sometimes obligingly forming patterns in case just filling in the little 'a' circle a thousand times was very boring for the grader. Even back then, I was always thinking of others."

This would explain why, in the old way of scoring the SAT at 1600 points, I got a 740 on the verbal part and a 10 on the math. And I think I got those ten points because whatever entity grades the exams felt sorry for me: it was an act of MERCY.

So anyway, I want the girls to be prepared. I wish I'd done this last year with Meelyn instead of the way we DID do it, which turned out to be not as good as what we're going to do now and if you understood this sentence, you either know me way too well, or you yourself scored 900 out of 800 points on your verbal SAT.

My original way to handle SAT prep was to sign them up for an online course. I had some friends who recommended different thises and thats, but the one I latched on to seemed very comprehensive and the format was user friendly and the website looked well-maintained. "Yep, that's the one we'll go with!" I said to myself last April when I was researching these things.

The only problem was that my research neglected to extend to the COST of that online course. When I went to the website last Friday to enroll the girls, I was rendered temporarily unconscious when I read that a one year enrollment was SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.

"Whoaaa....wait a minute. I must have momentarily blacked out, because I thought I just read that this online course costs six hundr...." and then I blacked out again, because my eyes once more fell on the button that read "One year course, $600. Click here to enroll now!"

I don't want to seem harsh, but OH MY GOSH HOW STUPID WOULD YOU HAVE TO BE to enroll your kid in an INTERNET course that costs SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS??!!

It's like my fingers won't even allow me to type that number in small letters. It's SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS, no matter how many times I press or unpress the caps lock key.

This is a course, please understand, where there is no human interaction. No instant messaging, no phoning, no mail-in-your-essay-and-we'll-grade-it, none of that. Zip! Zippo, zero, nada! SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS so that some bored techie can work from home making sure that all the buttons are clickable and that the shopping cart works because the owner of this site? He or she is probably off on a tour of the world on the new yacht. Which is probably named The Scammit or The Six Hundred Clams or something like that.

And if you think that's expensive, you should see how much some of the online courses that do offer personal interaction with a tutor cost.

Well, you know what? They're not getting my six hundred dollars. (There. It finally worked.) The fact that I don't have six hundred dollars is beside the point. The POINT is that I may have goofed up my own SAT all to heck, but I am not stupid. Shut up. I'm not. And there's no way non-stupid me is going to pay that much for an SAT prep course.

So I picked up the Barron's 2009 SAT prep book (see photo above) I bought last year at and grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper and a calendar and began meticulously going through that big thing, mapping out a strategy for the girls to study for the SAT. I hope it works. I don't know why it wouldn't. It isn't fancy, but it did cost me only the price of the book ($12.91) and about four hours of my time. I just can't see paying SIX HUNDR- oops, there it goes again -- that much money for an online course.

1 comment:

Kayte said...

I am not sure what we are doing. Matt is taking PSAT in October and we will see. I have a feeling we are going to be relying more on our 50 Freestyle time than our SAT score. We have a killer 50 free time, and a killer 100 backstroke time, and we are a sprinter, so maybe that computes into something around 1600 on the SAT. Is it wrong to hope??? LOL.