Test Prep Club and Math Tutorials continue virtually


Aastha Banga

Math tutorials and Test Prep Club have recently merged in order to help prepare students for the upcoming ACT, PSAT and final exams.

Caleb Jenkins, Copy Editor

Despite the restrictions that have come with COVID-19 and the struggles of virtual learning, MSMS students and teachers are still dedicated to helping one another in their journey to success. Test Prep Club and Math Tutorials are no exception as both programs continue as one virtually, having recently merged to encourage more participation.

In the past, students had the opportunity to stop by a teacher’s classroom or office from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and ask any questions they might have or simply do homework. Both faculty and students attended these tutorial hours in order to help any student regarding classwork. 

Similarly, Test Prep club “was always a space where MSMS students could come together and connect through one commonality: struggling with standardized tests,” as senior Katy Chen, President of Test Prep Club, put it. 

Now that most learning has moved online, though, these programs have been merged to provide the most amount of students with an opportunity to strengthen their classroom performance. The student organizers are glad to be able to continue helping students who might be struggling. However, they can’t help but feel as if the move online has had a negative effect on attendance.

People only come to tutorials now when they have math questions, and most don’t come even when they are struggling in their math classes,” senior Anh Nguyen, student organizer of the math tutorials, said. 

Chen has similar thoughts on how online learning has affected the Test Prep Club.

“While I think a lot of students can still relate to that struggle [of standardized testing] since we’ve moved to an online setting, I definitely feel like we’re missing that strong sense of community and connection this year,” said Chen.

Even though attendance is not as high as it has been in years prior, the students who have managed to make it have been grateful for the help they have received.

“I know for a fact Test Prep has improved my testing strategies and it’s taken a lot of stress off my shoulder,” said junior Keynijah Sullivan. “I love how patient the tutors are when it takes me time to get the answers, and I love how nice they are when explaining why some of my answers are wrong.”

This encouragement is just what students need and just what those in charge of test prep and math set out to accomplish through the programs.

“We are using test prep and math tutorials as a means of building community,” said Lauren Zarandona, sponsor of Test Prep Club. “The juniors have not experienced how supportive the MSMS community can be in the face of stressful situations like the PSAT or even tests in math classes.”

In addition to helping students prepare for state standardized tests, Test Prep Club has devoted several meetings to preparing students for the PSAT in particular.

“We are soon planning to have a PSAT marathon with the juniors for additional practice,” said Chen. “We will spend an allotted amount of time on a certain day to take an entire PSAT practice test with those that choose to attend.”

In spite of the trials and tribulations associated with online learning, the determination of the test prep and math tutorial organizers has not wavered. 

“As President of the Test Prep Club, my only goal is to help my peers in achieving their own goals academically, and if I’ve managed to do that with even one person, I feel like I’ve made a difference,” Chen said. “With that being said, I wouldn’t have been able to do it all this year without all the help from Bryce Harrison, Aaron Wan, Anh Mi Nguyen and our sponsor, Mrs. Zarandona.”

Zarandona encourages any student who feels they might benefit from the help of their peers to attend a test prep/math tutorial meeting.

We invite all students to join us on Mondays from 7-8 p.m. for general math help or test prep programming and on Thursdays for more math and individual test prep,” Zarandona said.