Taking the SAT

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.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dory

    Oh, don’t get me started on the SAT’s! My kid…has an A average, took 3 college classes and 4 AP classes in high school, was on the law team, was on the tennis and track teams, has had four internships (surgery, architectural, video, and bicycle shop…hey, he has a lot of real interests), has volunteered at a shelter for six years, teaches swimming, has been playing ice hockey since he was 7 (and coached younger players this year and throughout 10th grade, has been playing piano and bass guitar since he was 7 (also plays double bass, accordian, and trombone) and has been in a Klezmer band since he was ten, has done volunteer work for the Dem candidates and the Eldridge St. Project, has been babysitting for two families since he was 14, writes cool short stories, yada, yada, and is just a terrific, hilarious, charming kid, is just a bad speller (right at the very moment that they added the writing component) and generally just does not do that well on tests (even with the Kaplan program and personal tutoring)and got mediocre SAT scores (well, far above average, but not near the top), and McGill, his number one choice, did not require an essay or resume or any personal information, just transcript and test scores. They wouldn’t even think of him.

  2. DoverNH

    Life isn’t seamless or timely.