Friday, September 9, 2011

SAT Prep Review

The Sat and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student 
I recently received the SAT and College Prep Course for the Christian Student by James Stobaugh to review. What I received was 425 pages chock-full of good stuff. The book is divided into the following sections:
How to Use This Book- with 1, 2 or 3 year schedule for study clearly mapped out
Answers and Solutions
Bonus (includes Jitters Essay by J. Stobaugh titled, The Rise of the Secular University, and 50 examples of College      Admission Essays)

The value of the program is in the Lessons section, which takes up the bulk of the book. Each lesson is one page long and includes:
Bible Quote
Scripture reading and questions
Prompt for Devotional Journal
Prompt for Reading /Vocab Cards
A mixture of vocab/grammar/critical thinking/math

The book list is annotated and the appendixes include a reading journal page, a 30 minute prayer/devotional page, possible target scriptures, test taking strategies (invaluable!) and a list of resources for critical thinking materials.

At first glance I was undecided about the necessity of Bible passages, scripture readings and prompts for devotional journaling in an SAT prep book. Honestly, it seemed a bit pedantic. As an educator I am all about keeping skills uncomplicated and accessible and shy away from material that forces the student to do unrelated skills to get to the lesson. This is not to say that I don't firmly believe that high school students should be doing regular Bible and devotional reading and journaling. It's just that I'm not sure it fits in here. I think, however,  the point of clarifying ones purpose as a young adult is extremely valuable and Stobaugh's essay on The Rise of the Secular University clarifies his vision and purpose for inclusion. By the end of my very lengthy perusal I am convinced of it being a welcome addition. If it's not something that you see the value in with this study it would be easy to skip.

The strength of this SAT prep book over others is that the lessons are orerded, sequential and bite-sized. Each day is planned and the student simply turns to the page in the book and gets a goodly dose of practice without having to skip back and forth between sections or feel overwhelmed by the 100's of problems persented. Each day follows the same basic format so the student knows what to expect, an emotional comfort, even while being intellectually challenged.

At $29.99 I'll give this a 2 thumbs up. The lessons are quite do-able for any student, ordered and sequential. The essay examples are great and show a variety of styles and essays written for all manner of academies of higher learning and the helps are actually helpful. The feature I like most about the whole thing is that each day's work is neatly and carefully arranged, giving the student a manageable, do-able portion based on however many years they decide to study.

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