Accel Academy has been established as an SAT prep center since 1988. Accel Academy¡¯s SAT I courses are unique. Unlike other SAT centers that teach mostly technique, Accel uses a 50-50 combination of practice and technique so that students whose fundamental math and verbal knowledge is weak can learn the basics while improving their scores. All classes are taught only by Accel¡¯s full-time certified teachers (Principal, VP, & Dept. Head). Each SAT teacher has had at least 10 years experience teaching SAT students. Accel¡¯s expert SAT teachers are constantly researching the SAT I tests and updating curriculum and classwork to provide students the most up-to-date preparation.
Accel does not hire part-time SAT teachers; therefore, Accel¡¯s SAT teachers are totally devoted to their SAT classes and don¡¯t have other academic responsibilities to distract them. Students are working with enthusiastic, real teachers who create an interesting and positive learning environment, not pre-programmed computer software. Students experiencing problems in class can come for extra help with their SAT teacher any day of the week.
Accel requires students to take an SAT I placement test (if they don¡¯t have official SAT I scores already). By doing so, Accel is able to divide its SAT students by their ability as well as to monitor their progress. By placing students in the proper SAT level classes, teachers are better able to concentrate on the weaknesses or strengths of each group. Students feel less intimidated and more open to asking questions, thus promoting an interactive classroom experience. Consequently, students are also more receptive to learning.
Accel runs its SAT Program for sixteen classes. In the fall and spring, classes meet once a week; in the summer, classes meet twice a week for eight weeks. Other SAT prep programs try to cram a semester¡¯s worth of learning into five or six classes. Each Accel SAT I class (Verbal and/or Math) is two and a half hours each in length--a total of forty hours of learning as opposed to the 28 to 35 hours of strategy-only learning offered by the Princeton Review. Most other prep programs do not run their classes for this length of time. In addition to these combined five hours of instruction and classwork, students usually spend an additional five hours at home over the course of the week working on homework and studying for quizzes. Also, the number of items students encounter over the course of the semester is far more extensive than at other prep centers. The Verbal course requires students to complete approximately 430 SAT I verbal type questions during the course of the semester for homework and to study approximately 600 vocabulary words. This work is in addition to their classwork and practice tests. The Math course requires students to complete approximately 1200 SAT I math type questions during the course of the semester for homework in addition to classwork, quizzes, and practice tests.
The practice tests students take in class are REAL College Board SAT I Reasoning Tests. The Academy purchases the most up to date tests from ETS. Other test prep courses administer their own SAT I type tests that their institutions have created. The verbal classes take eight real SATs per semester. The Math classes take approximately three real SATs per semester. The verbal classes take more practice tests because they have fewer homework problems than the math classes do.
Accel Academy guarantees a combined score improvement of 150 points or a score of at least 1400 for students who are initially scoring 1250 or better. Students who attend classes regularly, complete all the work, make all their corrections, and pass all their tests will be guaranteed this score improvement; otherwise, they will be able to register for the next semester free of charge.
Accel¡¯s SAT I courses are designed for those students who are very serious about improving their SAT I Reasoning Test scores. Students must be willing to do all of their homework by themselves with their best effort.
The SAT I Reasoning Test is an aptitude test designed to predict students¡¯ potential success in college. It consists of two parts, each with three to four sections. Accel¡¯s Verbal Program instructs students in vocabulary, logic skills for analogies and sentence completions, and critical thinking skills. Students are also given a practice test each class using a real College Board SAT. Students are required to complete homework assignments, make corrections to problems they get wrong on the homework, and take vocabulary and root words tests.
The biggest change to the SAT I coming in march 2005 is the addition of the Writing section, which gets a completely separate score from the Verbal section (to be renamed the Critical Reading section). Therefore, the highest total score students could receive will no longer be 1600; it will be 2400! To accommodate these changes, Accel offers a Writing class specifically for this section of the new SATs. Students learn how to compose a student-written essay and answer multiple choice questions that test grammar, usage, and style.
Accel¡¯s SAT I Math Program instructs students in numerical and arithmetic concepts, basic algebraic concepts, geometric concepts, and advanced concepts including absolute value, functional notation, linear functions, manipulations with exponents, properties of tangent lines, logic and application of problem solving skills. Students are also given practice tests during class using a real College Board SAT. Students are required to complete homework assignments and make corrections to problems they get wrong on the homework by working with peers or with the teacher during that day¡¯s class. After lectures on the day¡¯s topic, students take a quiz on the topic just covered. Students then have the opportunity to ask questions about the items that they got wrong on the quiz during the same class.