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Vice President of The Princeton Review, USA in partnership with Score Plus Education Group Unveils the Re-Designed SAT Exam Nationwide in UAE

Vice President of The Princeton

Event Date :- Sunday, 13 December 2015 07:19

Publish Date :- Monday, 22 February 2016

More than 90 high school administrators profited last week from a rare opportunity between November, 15-16, 2015: an appearance in UAE by the Vice President of The Princeton Review USA, Michael Gamerl.

A 25-year veteran of one of the world’s leading test preparation company, The Princeton Review, USA, Mr. Michael presented the first national seminar of its kind, “The School Counselors Toolkit for Re-Designed SAT” to address how the changes to this test will affect students countrywide. The event was organized by Score Plus, Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) Partner, in collaboration with Dao M. Le, Regional Senior Commercial Officer for the Gulf and Commercial Counselor and Manal El Masry, Commercial Specialist from the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Michael Zaug, International Sales Director, Penguin Random House, New York, USA.

The seminar was held in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai where counselors from more than 50 high schools throughout the 3 Emirate cities met to find out about the future of the SAT, an exam used for college admissions at not only USA but also in other countries such as Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Singapore. Likely in response to increased competition in the standardized test market, ETS, makers of the SAT, are in the process of overhauling the test. The redesigned SAT will be administered for the first time in UAE in May, 2016, and will test more advanced skills than the current one.

Michael began his career with The Princeton Review teaching SAT preparation as an undergraduate student in the USA and since then has seen the SAT evolve more than six times. However, Michael warned counselors, this redesign is more substantial than past changes. He encouraged counselors to remind students of the remaining opportunities to take the current SAT in December, 2015, and January, 2016.

“Imagine the current SAT is an apple and the new test is an orange,” Michael said. “After January, that apple is going away for good. For students who prefer apples, we need to make sure they get their apples.”

Counselors were able to ask questions throughout the event. One common question was whether schools will accept the current SAT for younger students, especially those who will graduate in 2017 or later. Michael’s answer was that there is no clear policy covering all American colleges and that students need to research their top choices schools to see if any such limitation exists. As SAT scores are valid for five years, those who take the current SAT may not be precluded.

Michael also explained the stark similarities between the redesigned SAT and the ACT: no penalty for wrong answers; four answer choices per question; more emphasis on advanced math, punctuation, and reading comprehension, among others. In many ways, Michael said, the new SAT will become “like the ACT, but harder.”

Many counselors also asked how colleges will interpret scores for the new SAT. The current test is scored on a scale of 600 to 2,400, whereas the new test will be scored on a scale of 400 to 1,600. Michael explained that after the first redesigned SAT is scored, College Board, the company that markets the SAT, will release concordance tables to colleges which show new SAT scores and their equivalent ACT and older SAT scores.

Counselors tried out sample questions themselves to experience the challenge their students will need to face. Many were surprised by the wide gap between the tested material and the content covered by school curricula.

Ritu Kalwani, Executive Director of Score Plus Middle East and India, alumnus of Babson College, Boston, USA, mentioned, “The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in partnership with the American accreditation body, New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) has set of expectations, including that for assessment and graduation requirements from US curriculum schools in Dubai. Any student who seeks UAE equivalency standing for his or her High School Diploma has to submit a minimum score of 400 points out of the total 800 points in SAT I Math section along with good TOEFL scores. Similarly, Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) applies the policy for the American schools in the Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Western Emirates to meet the high school graduation requirements centered on various parameters encompassing SAT I Math Score of no less than 400 points as well. ”

On this note, Ritu Kalwani urged schools at the counselor events across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai to guide their students and parents well in advance on the New SAT Math section in May 2016 so that the students are better prepared for the new test format.

Overall, counselors came away from the event with their questions answered, and with a strong understanding of the new SAT test and testing opportunity, the ACT exam by ACT International, USA.

“It was a pleasure to attend. Information conveyed was very helpful. All efforts really appreciated,” High School Counselor at Abu Dhabi International School, Jihan El Mouallem said.

“I was highly impressed with the counselor event. It was highly appreciated and I received positive and helpful information,” High School Counselor at Sharjah American International School, Leila Chammas agreed.

Dareen Nazih Sayeh, Counselor at Al Sanawbar School supported the counselor event in Al Ain city by endorsing that, “it was a beneficial workshop. We got better understanding for the re-designed SAT. Thank you.”

“Again- thank you all for putting together such a wonderful event. I found it really insightful and Michael is an enthusiastic and engaging presenter,” Dubai School Counselor at Collegiate American School, Sophia Bazile confirmed.

Counselor of Indian ICSE Board curriculum school – Ambassador School in Dubai, Roma Joshi also said, “Mr. Gamerl was a pleasure to interact with. It was wonderful and gave a lot of information about SAT & Redesigned SAT and ACT.”

School Administrators were in attendance from the following schools:

Abu Dhabi: Emirates Pvt School, Adnoc Schools (Glenelg Boys & Girls, and Ruwais campus), Raha International School, Al Yasmina School, Abu Dhabi International School, Emirates National School, Al Dhafra Pvt School, Abu Dhabi Grammar School, St. Joseph’s School, International School of Choueifat, Elite Private School, Al Bateen Secondary School, ADIA Scholarship Office, Al Ittihad School, Horizon School, International Community School, and Rawafed Private School.

Dubai and Sharjah: Al Ittihad Pvt School, Jumeirah campus and Mamzar campus, American Academy, Al Mizhar, GEMS Al Khaleej National School, Universal American School, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Al Maref Private School, GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, Arab Unity School, King’s Al Barsha, Al Resalah International School of Science, Taryam American Private School, St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Dubai Modern Education School, Dubai English Speaking College, American International School, Greenwood International School, AKAIS School, Latifa School for Girls, Ambassador School, Dubai, Dubai International School, North American International School, Brandenton Prep Academy, Sharjah American International School, Al Zuhour Private School and WesGreen International School.

Al Ain: Emirates National School, International School of Choueifat, Al Dhafra Private School, Manor Hall International School, Al Sanawbar School, Gulf International Private Academy, Future international School, and Higher College of Technology for Girls.

Score Plus Director, Ritu Kalwani shared her closing vote of thanks to the school administrators for their participation in this event. She asserted that schools are the real gatekeepers of colleges for their students and parents and on this note, Ritu announced, “Score Plus is well-equipped to prepare students for the Re-Designed SAT using The Princeton Review’s learning resources and is pleased to support UAE schools with their endeavor as they embrace this new exam model for their students’ admissions process.”

For those who are concerned for their students, The Princeton Review’s first test preparation course for the new test begins in January 2016 in our Score Plus centers and will thoroughly prepare students for the May 2016 exam,” Ritu Kalwani concluded.

Score Plus also conducted multiple forum sessions for Re-Designed SAT exam for school educators in Qatar on Sunday, November 9, 2015 and Kuwait on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 akin to the UAE one, in partnership Commercial Section of the US Embassy in Qatar and Kuwait respectively.

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