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  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by GregsTutoringNYC View Post
    I agree that you don't need a prep course, but although that's technically true is not the full picture. For instance, as you say, even you did prep for the Grade 8 SHSAT. Technically one doesn't need any prep or studying at all. But moving forward, that's not practical or pragmatic. And although an alternative worked for you, it's not necessarily the alternative that will work for others.

    As a counter-example, I've tutored a ton of kids who have been able to pass and/or to get past cutoff scores of many tests, SHSAT and otherwise. And I usually do so by ensuring their fundamentals are totally mastered, working on their grade level material, and then working on the material for the test at hand.

    There is many aspects to it. Even some things I thought were sure bets to work many years ago just don't for everybody. It really is individualized and that's one important key.

    Consistent also is finding and understanding the structure and goals of the given test and matching them as best as possible. This is so whether SHSAT or not, or whether Grade 8 or Grade 9 SHSAT, remembering too that Grade 9 SHSAT is a superset of Grade 8 SHSAT, so it's all applicable, and even touted as such.
    I used a prep course on the 8th grade exam, because I was very unfamiliar with the exam itself. The goal here is not to argue whether a prep course is beneficial for a student, because I truly believe that it is but to a much lesser extent. As you say, it's individualized for the student. To me, this means that every student's reading and math foundation is different. A student that takes a prep course who has weak foundation cannot excel at an exam no matter what, unless they strengthen their underlying background, by self studying, which I was trying to emphasize on my last post. On the contrary, a student who does have strong foundation developed throughout the years has an added benefit of a prep course to master the exam. A weak student cannot master an exam with merely prep- at least not very quickly. It takes a commitment, which is more important than relying on test professionals. Many students are simply disadvantaged, so going into a prep center is not an option. Many people in the past have been successful without it, because they researched, and they know the proper way to study. The underlying foundations in reading and math developed throughout the years can't be built in mere days or months. It takes parental involvement, which I have been fortunate, as my parents provided me with a solid academic upbringing. I have researched the 9th grade exam for days in the summer, and I know what it entails to be successful. I have also been very successful in getting my own sibling into a SHS, and myself twice- in 8th grade and 9th. I know the strategies, and I would never have gotten into Stuy in the challenging 9th grade exam with merely a prep course. I had to self-study for days and nights over the summer, and it was not easy, but I have always dreamt of going to Stuy, and this motivation brought me towards the end. It's possible for a student to fail with prep, depending on its quality, and depending on their academic background, but a student who self-studies efficiently with motivation- the chances are much less that they will fail. I think that a personal mentor/guide is invaluable, but that depends on the prep-center, and more often than not, prep centers nowadays are geared towards multiple students, rather than individual support, and have more monetary intentions.
    Last edited by SHSAT2017; 09-15-2019 at 01:47 PM.

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