On October 12, almost 300 high school students from both Excel Academy North and Excel Academy South in Philadelphia sat for the SAT and PSAT exams. The College Board, the organization that administers the exams, launched SAT School Day as a way to help students who may have difficulty making a standard SAT/PSAT test time and location.

Having the option to take the SAT and PSAT – standardized tests that are intended to assess students’ readiness for college – during the school day helps eliminate any worries or barriers a student may have with getting to a testing location on a Saturday morning.

Seniors sat for the SAT and underclassmen took the PSAT. There were a lot of nerves, but overall, the students did a fantastic job and are excited to receive their results.

Excel Academy South’s Nashae

“You could hear a pin drop in the gym. The kids are not used to taking such high risk exams, but they were taking it very seriously,” said Kevin D. Marx, M.Ed., director Excel Academy North. “These scores can help them meet a pathway to graduation.”

Excel Academy South’s Nashae recounted her experience taking the SAT college entrance exam for the first time.

“Taking the test was stressful,” she said. “The questions were difficult and I was trying my best to get a score that will get me accepted in to college. I did feel like my teachers prepared me for the test.”

Students got ready for the exams by taking SAT practice tests and prep classes math and reading, all paid for by the School District of Philadelphia.

“It means a lot to me not to have to pay for the test, it saved me money that I could spend on other needs,” said Coleman. “It was important for me and my family to take the test to prove to myself and my family how much I have learned in high school.”

Her goal for after graduation is to join the Philadelphia Fire Academy.

“I wanted to take the SAT so that I always have those scores in case I choose to go to college in the future.”

Excel Academy North’s Tyliyah

Excel Academy North’s Tyliyah also shared her experience on SAT Day.

“It’s important for me to take the test because I’m able to show my daughter how important school is and to always work hard and do your best,” she said.

After she graduates from Excel North, Benjamin wants to open her own daycare to give young parents the ability to attend school or work to help their families.

“Having the cost covered meant a lot. It showed me that my school cares about my education, and that we reach our graduation and post-secondary goals.”