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Pros and Cons to the SAT

It’s a test day, and the atmosphere is thick with sweat and anxiety. Eye bags are formed under students’ eye, a testament to the restless night spent cramming at the last minute studying and worrying about the future test result. Did anyone manage to get a good sleep last night amidst the last-minute studying and the overwhelming thoughts that this test will determine their entire future? Jonny forgets his calculator, a mistake that could cost him dearly in his score. 

Today marks the dreaded SAT day for the junior class, a standardized test built on a student’s ability to answer questions based on what they have learned throughout their academic career in high school. The test, with its timed randomized format, comes with strict rules before and during its administration. It carries a reputation for being stressful with many students worrying wrongly that it is a make-or-break factor in college admissions.

However, the SAT’s significance is often overstated. While it may hold weight in some college admissions processes, many colleges and universities do not require a SAT score for consideration. It is also wrongly assumed that a good score on the SAT will result in a student getting into their dream college. A high SAT score does not weaken an application, but colleges nowadays place greater emphasis on factors like GPA, community service hours, and extracurricular activities. The SAT is an extremely stressful test which causes students with test anxiety to panic. A bad test score is not the end of the world and does not amount to the preparation and hard work a student endures in high school. 

Despite the SAT being seen as “outdated” and an “underestimation of student success” by many, there are still some pros to the standardized test To begin, the SAT provides a standardized comparison of students across the globe which allows colleges and universities to evaluate students on a common metric. A good SAT score can open doors to financial aid and scholarships, leveling the playing field for students from diverse backgrounds. Getting a good score on the SAT can strengthen a weak application and provide a student the ability to get into a school they previously would not have been able to get into. Furthermore, the SAT retake option allows students to improve their scores with additional preparation and study. The skills and understanding gained from SAT preparation can be beneficial when taking other similar standardized tests, including the  MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, and ACT. The SAT is a good option when considering what opportunities it can present.

It is recommended that a student take the SAT at least once during their college preparation journey. The best way to obtain a good test score is to remain calm during the duration of the test. Get a good night sleep, while making sure to eat a well balanced breakfast the morning of. Adhere to the tests restrictions and guidelines. Utilizing free SAT prep resources such as Khan Academy can aid in preparation as well. Additionally, students should be aware that test-optional colleges exist, and a low score doesn’t necessarily need to be included in their application. Understanding that a low score is not an accurate measure of a student’s educational success is essential when going about taking the SAT. With motivation and perseverance any student with a low SAT score or a high SAT score can get into a good college and work hard for the future they want to achieve.