Writing is...personal freedom...writers will write...to survive as individuals.
~ Don Delillo

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Preparing Your Child for the SAT: Some Tips for Parents


Review materials for SAT
Whenever I do my writing assignments, I often surf for online earning opportunities during self-imposed breaks. Just recently, I bumped into three job posts related to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). These ads got my attention because I have already started dealing with the logistics of having my daughter take said examination early next year. It is her dream to have her college education in the United States (US). To achieve this, she needs to take the SAT. 

One of the job posts I found specified creating a curriculum for a 50-hour study session, the other ad wanted examination items, and the last one was about online tutoring for the SAT. I only applied for the test item making work. Fortunately, I received an immediate reply. However, it wasn't a good offer.

Minimal pay for SAT questions

In my email, I asked the client for the rate and the number of test questions. He said $50 for 50 questions. This compensation would've been fine if the task only required a single sentence; alas, that's not the case. For each test item, an introductory paragraph containing 3-4 sentences precedes the multiple choice items. This part and a question for a dollar? I couldn't help but tell the client that his rate is exploitative. He asked what I think was a fair price. I said $5 per item would be better, considering the nature and time involved to finish the work. He was respectful enough to say that since he's only collecting initial content for a start-up website, he couldn't afford my suggested rate, although it is a fair amount that he hopes to pay contributors in the future. He said that should I reconsider, I should let him know. I did reconsider and negotiated for $2 a piece. No more response. Oh well...I wish him luck. Certainly, he knows that other writers would take the bait, especially those who do not have any idea how exploitative the offer is.

It's really saddening that many online employers think that writing is such an easy job. For the plagiarizers, it is, of course. That's not the case though for those who produce original articles. Researching, reading, writing, and revising are not easy. These tasks are actually mentally draining and physically tiring, especially when a writer flirts with the keyboard and the computer monitor for many hours everyday. Exploitative clients should bear in mind that if they are also struggling to pay a decent amount for another person's hard work, then they should not be surprised if they get mediocre pieces in lieu of quality ones.

Anyway, in spite of what happened and the reality of exploitation, I still hope and pray I'd find or I'd be found by a good paying client soon.

Letting go of good opportunities - The SAT Curriculum and Online Tutoring

The SAT curriculum order was very tempting. The client based in New Jersey would pay $2,000 upfront and $3,000-$4,000 upon completion. If only I knew much about SAT and had an education background, I could've taken that chance. However, the client says he prefers applicants living near Princeton University. Thus, I surmised it's better not to apply since I essentially don't have the expertise to complete, much less draft, the curriculum. If here's one thing I learned as an adult, it is the importance of recognizing one's limitations and knowing when to let go of things in spite of possible gains. 

With regard to the job post on online SAT tutoring, I have also opted to let this pass. Why? The client only wants teachers who are good in math and science subjects, such as Algebra, Trigonometry, Chemistry, and Physics. Admittedly, I'm not good at any of these courses, for I prefer studying and writing about the social sciences instead. 

Preparing for the SAT - Some steps to take

Hiring a private tutor is among the several ways to help a student prepare for the SAT. Based on "googled" results, there are many firms in the US that provide this kind of service. One of which is Top Test Prep (TTP), a private company that have expert SAT mentors and consultants. It is seems to be a legitimate site which offers admissions counseling and test review sessions for other tests like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). On the other hand, a viable option for poor students in the US is the Federal TRIO Programs which are sustained by federal money. The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) explains that these programs are meant for disadvantaged scholars, laborers, and veterans. 

In addition to tutoring, another technique is to bookmark educational sites that provide free SAT practice trials, as well as buying used SAT review books. Scheduling my daughter's reading and practice time for the SAT has been quite a struggle though. Consequently, I just advised her to continue reading books that interest her and to answer math questions whenever she can.

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