More than a test: How one teacher helped students prepare for college admissions exam


Juniors Julia Mendoza, Alyssa Cerda, and Georgia Moore work on their SAT study guides during an MTAT session in STARS class. Photo by Becca Alonso (11).

Alia Segura

Each junior at ARS undergoes SAT and ACT preparation from the More Than a Teacher [MTAT] program during their second semester STARS class. MTAT is provided to students to help them achieve the best scores they can on standardized college entrance exams. Ann Richards is one of the only schools that provides MTAT at no cost for its students, due to support from the Ann Richards Foundation.

“When we first started thinking about students taking the SAT in their junior year, we realized that also, a lot of our students weren’t able to financially afford really great test prep programs,” STARS  DiCuffa said. “It’s very expensive, several hundred dollars, and students have to take time for the class either at night or over the weekend to complete a course like that.”

The purpose of the MTAT program is to teach students students strategizes for tackling standardized college entrance exams with the hope of increasing student’s score upwards of 100 points from their practice scores.

“I think MTAT has definitely helped me knit-pick all of the mistakes I tend to make [on these tests] and has really helped me improve on my test-taking skills,” Junior Briza Olascoaga said.

The class of 2018 has seen many benefits from the test prep program.

“My favorite part [of MTAT] was actually taking the SAT,” Ebheni Henderson (11) said. “ I think it was because I felt that I had really improved.”

Students have also shown great gratitude for the opportunity to have the MTAT course provided as a part of their STARS curriculum.

“I liked taking the test because it showed how hard [MTAT] teachers were actually working to motivate us and help us work hard as well,” Henderson said.

Having taken the SAT in March, the next test juniors have to face is the ACT, but little worry has phased one junior so far.

“I’m definitely ready for the ACT” Erica Guajardo (11) said. “More Than a Teacher has helped us prepare so much and I know we’ll all do great.”