Monday, January 27, 2014

Taking the SAT

I took the SAT Saturday. I'm not sure quite how I did yet, only how I took the test (and what I was thinking during it).

It was everything that I expected a standardized test to be. I had taken them before, so I knew what to expect in a sense. I had also practiced the test numerous times, so I knew what to specifically expect the test to be like. Filling in the bubbles certainly took me back to my days in public school.

The lovely thing about multiple-choice questions is that 50% of the time, you don't even have to do the actual work. Instead, you can usually substitute the answer or something and see what fits. Also, a lot of the times the answer to your question (or the formula or whatever needed to find the answer to your question) is usually someplace else on the test. I happen to be a really great test taker, so I know a lot of great tricks to help me out. SAT tutoring helped a lot with figuring this out too.

English, of course, was easy. I thought there would be some analogies on it, but there weren't (I guess that's only the SSAT, which I took to get into private school). For the most part, I aced it except for one I knew I got wrong (I forgot what "abstemious" meant and I had no idea what "intransigent" meant. I guessed 50/50 and I guessed wrong). The Math section was fair: not super easy, but not super hard. I ended up being able to answer most of the questions in time and even had a few minutes left behind for English. I might have fallen for some of the trick questions they ask you, but, for the most part, I was good.

It was longer than I expected it to be, that's for sure (it also didn't help that we started the test an hour late, with registration and my proctor taking so long. Ten sections and an essay. I only had three five-minute breaks in between, which hardly felt like anything at all. Most of them were twenty-five minutes (including the essay), but two were twenty minutes and one was ten. It seemed to drag on forever. Each individual section wasn't that bad, but, taking them altogether, it felt like my brain was turning to mush. There had to be at least two hundred questions, maybe more. I'm lucky that I had a sufficient amount of sleep and was in good health, which is more than a good deal of my fellow test takers could say.  

The knowledge that one of the sections (probably the last, given the impossible time length) was experimental really annoyed me. Like they were going to keep me there even longer? UGH.

So I survived it. Mom's like, "Aren't you relieved now?" I'm actually not. This is partially because I know that I'm probably going to have to take it again next year so my hell isn't over yet, and I'm afraid I didn't do as well as I thought or hoped. I'll have to see about that one, though. I definitely would dread doing this again.

Taking the SAT made me realize even more how stupid the SAT really is, as well as the SAT culture. It doesn't really tell you that much about a student or if they'll succeed in college. Middle-class and upper-class people are given a much greater advantage by not only having a better education, but all of this preparation for this test. More and more colleges are SAT-optional, but the bigger colleges will still use the SAT as a gauge for their students (perhaps out of necessity). There is a whole business set up around taking the test, and for that reason, it will probably stick around. The conversation gets even stupider when comparing the SAT with the ACT, because (while I've never taken the ACT and probably don't need to) they're still pretty much the same. 

On the bright side, this will probably be the last standardized I ever take. Hopefully.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I hope your results are good! It was helpful to read this. I'm taking the SAT march 8, so I still have a while to prepare. I had actually just logged in to blogger to write a post with study tips I've found helpful.. but I guess it's too late for you. Like I said, I really hope you do well - but I agree with you that the SAT and standardized tests in general are incredibly stupid. Something like this shouldn't be as important as it is.