Taking the SAT

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Growing up, it was an understanding that if you wanted to do well, do well.  If you don’t, then it is your life.  I was able to get by doing quite well considering that I never studied.  When it came to the SATs, it was more of a necessary evil.  I thought that the tests were a ridiculous judge of my intelligence and ability to succeed.  Right or wrong, they are a necessary evil that either opens a door or doesn’t for certain colleges.  These days, even though you might have 3 jobs, straight A’s, captain of the sports teams, etc., and you don’t have the score needed on the SAT to have somebody in the admissions department take a look at your transcript, they won’t.

Taking standardized tests is a learned skill.  The more you do it, the better you get.  Understanding how to decode the test.  What to answer first, how to take a guess, etc.  Something like doing the Crossword everyday.  No surprises, the kids that have the financial backing of their parents to take classes to prepare, far out score the kids who just walk in there blind sided. 

Today, Jessica is taking her SAT’s.  Early but she has been working with a group and figured she might as well take them now and see what happens.  Now you can actually delete your score if you don’t like it within 24 hours of getting your results.  How crazy is that?

The stress of taking these exams are high.  So today, Jessica set out with her #2 pencils in hand to take the exam.  Supposedly the first hour is filling out paperwork which is ridiculous.  Why isn’t everything already taken care of?  You have to fill out plenty on the web to register.  But what really pissed me off this morning is that she had to be there at 745am, no problem.  Then, at 830 Jessica called me to say that she is still waiting outside because they haven’t let anyone in to the facility yet.  Let’s just add to the stress level. 

The company that administers the SAT’s had enough controversy last year after screwing up the scores of a bunch of kids.  Why are they incapable of running an efficient test.  If you are asked to be there at 745, open the door and get the kids sitting down and starting at 8am.  It is disrespectful to the kids, to their parents and the whole process. 

Shame, shame on the SAT’s.  I hope that as universities and colleges across the country, start looking at each individual child for who they are, what they bring to the table and what their potential is, they start to look at other things besides standardized testing or come up with a better way to assess each applicant.  Just because you score well, get good grades and have joined the obligatory amounts of clubs and play the right musical instruments, doesn’t mean that you are the right candidate.  Some of the most successful people I know blossomed much later in life. 

If the process must be packaged (like the No Child Left Behind), then at least give these kids the courtesy of making the testing process seamless and timely.