The SAT or the Scholastic Aptitude Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. It is administered by the Education Testing Service (ETS) mainly to high school juniors and seniors. The standardized test offers colleges a common criterion to evaluate all applicants, testing a student’s critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills – all of which a student will need to be successful in college.
The current SAT is scored on a 1600-point scale. A student can earn anywhere from 200 to 800 points on both the English and math sections. In total, there’s the reading comprehension, grammar, math with a calculator, and math without the calculator sections. There is also an optional essay, which some colleges require. The SAT can take anywhere between three to four hours depending on if the student registers for the essay.
As a student who took the SAT with the essay for the second time, Xavier Rogers ’18 stated that “Taking the SAT prior to writing the essay was like being beaten senseless and then having to walk in a straight line afterwards.”
On the other hand, Jordan Drew ’18 took the SAT without the essay. Even though the test was an hour shorter, he still held strong opinions about his experience. “This test was extremely long and full of foolishness” he claimed.
Seeing how important this test is, how can one prepare for the SAT? Some students attend SAT prep courses to learn and brush up some skills and formulas that will help them answer questions quickly and accurately. Other students take online practice tests to get comfortable with the test’s duration and format.
Oumou Sarr ’18 spoke to us about her experience preparing for the exams:
“I took a bunch of practice tests online and in the SAT book and kept reviewing what I didn’t do very well on until I was good at it.”
However, some students panic because they know that they are terrible standardized test-takers. That’s completely fine because many colleges have test-optional policies.
George Washington University, like many other colleges, has recently become test optional, stating they seek to “strengthen and diversify an already outstanding applicant pool and will broaden access for those high-achieving students who have historically been underrepresented at selective colleges and universities, including students of color, first-generation students and students from low-income households”.
Whether or not a student decides to take the SAT, the college application process is still stressful.
As Amber Corbett ’18 rightly stated, “The most stressful part is that the ‘rest’ of my life is dependent on the application. I’m applying to Syracuse University’s Communications School, which is extremely competitive to get into and making sure everything is beyond good enough to get me accepted is emotionally draining.”