THOMASVILLE -- Local high school students are progressing on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Thomas County Central, Thomasville and Brookwood have all seen improvements from last year's test scores.

Brookwood students' SAT scores surpassed both national and state averages. Overall, the school averaged 1,163 on this year's tests, with a verbal score of 582 and math score of 581. On the verbal section, Brookwood students improved 28 points on average over last year's 554. The average math scores improved by 46 points.

Brookwood averaged 74 points better on this year's SAT than last year's combined score of 1089. Deryl Ouzts, Brookwood's director of guidance, said doing well on the test is one of the school's top priorities for its students.

"SAT preparation is an integral part of our curriculum," he said. "We work at it. We feel it's very important for our students to do well on the test."

Ouzts said here is always room for improvement.

"I definitely think we're heading in the right direction. We don't want to be satisfied. We want to improve on these scores every year," he said.

Thomas County Central High School improved on their SAT test scores this year as well, teacher Randy Young said. About 156 students took the test in 2004 -- approximately 60 percent of the senior class.

The average at Central was 942, with a 469 verbal score and 473 on the math section. Young said doing well on the test is a matter of familiarizing the students with the material.

"We tailor questions in our regular classes to look like questions they might see on the SAT. We do that so students won't see anything that will surprise them," Young said. "Familiarity can put a kid at ease, and that makes a big difference."

Some students get nervous taking tests, so teachers prepare them by testing them with SAT questions. "Test anxiety is such a huge factor for a lot of students," Young said. "Exposing them to that beforehand can't do anything but help."

Thomasville High School, profiled in Thursday's edition, averaged 925 on the SAT.

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