The SAT Experience
Preparing for Future Scholarships.
March 4 marked the day all juniors across the United States took the Scholastic Assessment Test, best known as the SAT. The SAT is a 1,600 point assessment consisting of a “Reading Test”, a “Writing and Language Test”, and a “Math Test” (the “SAT Essay” is optional, but no students were allowed to take it on campus), where students earn as many points possible for each correct response answered. Students participated in the SAT to test their knowledge and endurance in an exam setting, sending their scores to colleges and universities around the world. While no specific portions of the SAT will be shared in appliance to the non-disclosure agreement signed by students, this was my experience with the SAT.
My overall impressions from taking the 2020 edition of the SAT was that it was what I expected. Being forced to take the PSAT in freshman and sophomore year, along with taking the “Score the Top!” tutor lessons every Saturday in the cafeteria, there were not any surprises that I noticed. Everyone’s favorite one-noted script on how you should not have an electronic device and post content from the SAT on your favorite social media platforms, “including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat”, makes its return. The same old reading, grammar, and math sections that are spoon-fed to you every year are still present, so no need to panic. Difficulty can be subjective, so I do not want to give off the impression that the SAT was easy, normal, or hard; nor do I want to be called out by someone for “lying” to them about the difficulty. It was a tiring, tedious three and a half hours of needless pencil scratching, eraser rubbing, and calculator punching, yet it felt satisfying when the goal is to try and see how many colleges are interested in your performance. The overwhelming number of colleges you can choose from to send your SAT score only adds to the excitement; colleges from around the world can be handpicked by you to brag about your perfect score or to hope the college of your dreams accepts your low score.
This time around, there was less filling in your personal information thanks to the “smart sticker” slapped onto the cover of each student’s SAT booklet, which was nice for both the time and my dignity. The break-time sessions also were a great time, spending five to ten minutes to chow down some breakfast, quenching the thirst lost from the previous testing portion, or taking a bathroom trip to chat with others; of course, you could not talk about the test, which no one really followed (if only they got punished for committing such a crime…).
The SAT experience seemed frightening at first, since this would be the real deal that could determine the future of my education career, but once I took a deep breath and chose not to stress for the test, it felt calming after the storm. For those students taking it next year, practice at Khan Academy or take the PSAT seriously, do your very best. As for those who are not expected to take it until a year or two from now, now’s the best time to practice when you are just starting your high school career.