HOUSTON — University of Houston-Clear Lake School of Education’s Kids U will hold a Scholastic Aptitude Test preparation seminar Jan. 15, 2011, 9 a.m. – 3pm for 7th graders identified for the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP), who are planning to take the January SAT.
The Duke TIP program identifies academically talented seventh-graders based on standardized test scores achieved while attending elementary or middle school. Candidates are then invited to take the SAT as 7th graders, which allows them greater insight into their academic abilities.
There are many SAT prep programs but most are not age restricted, says seminar instructor Tim Daponte. These classes can be intimidating to seventh-graders who find themselves sitting beside high school juniors and seniors, he explains. In contrast, the Kids U preparatory class is small, child-friendly and low-key.
“We try to take a lot of the pressure off,” says Daponte, a physics teacher at John H. Reagan High School in Houston who has been teaching the mathematics portion of the UH-Clear Lake SAT prep seminar for more than 15 years along with Paul Huetteman, who teaches the verbal and essay portion.
“We have children the age of these students,” Daponte notes. “We can relate to them. We do a lot of hand holding. We try to be very supportive of the students and very supportive of parents, too.”
Though no one knows what will be on the SAT, the two instructors review major concepts that always seem to be included on the tests. They also teach test strategies. For example, Daponte explains that on a multiple choice question, if the student can eliminate two or three of the choices, than they can change the odds of being correct from one in five to that of one in two. He also advises the kids to resist reading the question and right away hitting what they think is the right answer. Instead, he teaches them to read over the question a few times and to look at how the question is worded and what is being asked before answering.
As part of the SAT, students are required to write an essay. While no one knows what the topic will be until the test is opened, Huetteman, who teaches English and Advanced English in the Magnolia School District, helps prepare the 7th graders for that portion of the test by providing each student with personal feedback.
“We try to take the fear out of taking the test,” Daponte says. “We tell them, ‘After the test next week, go get some ice cream. If you do well – great. If you don’t do well, it’s not the end of the world.’”
For more information about the seminar or to register online, visit the UH-Clear Lake Kids U website at http://kidsu.uhcl.edu/, select View, Kids U, Kids U SAT, e-mail Joyce Young, registrar, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 281-283-3530.