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   Scholastic Aptitude Testing. Better known as the SAT to high school students, it is one of the most dreaded and feared words. Each year over one million college hopefuls set their alarms for an early Saturday morning to see how they stack up academically.

Not all people know that there are two types of SAT: format I and II. The SAT I The Reasoning Test is more widely known, consisting of grueling three-hour torture that has seven sections (math and verbal). These two parts make up the SAT, and have a combined score of 1600 points, each part being equally important. Over twenty specific subject areas ranging from math to modern Hebrew are represented in the SAT II Subject Area tests. These tests are one hour long (800 total points), but they require precise knowledge of the subject matter.

The SAT I is used by more than 1600 colleges in deciding to reject or accept applicants. SAT II tests are used by more competitive colleges to have a better look at the applicant's abilities.

The SAT's significance is nothing like your everyday Spanish quiz or English essay. The importance of these tests is unprecedented. In some cases these dreaded three-hour tests weigh more than all your high school efforts combined. Although colleges have recently downplayed these exams in the admissions process, there is an undeniable significance to the scores. Some colleges receive thousands of applications and are forced to use a formula that includes the SAT scores when making decisions. Your score on the SAT can decide whether you get into a top university or a community college. Hypothetically, these exams can drastically determine the outcome of your future and career.

There are conflicting reports on the biases or whether the SAT is geared toward a particular race or gender. One US. News report found that indeed there is a bias against women taking the SAT.

Should SAT scores have such significance? Many factors affect the outcome of these tests. Some have the ability to take review courses such as Kaplan and Princeton Review, while others must depend solely on their self-discipline to study the material. Some become extremely nervous and uptight when taking standardized tests and simply cannot score well, not because of lack of intelligence, but because they simply are not test takers.

What are we teaching our youngsters, the ones who will lead us through the 21st century? That much of their future depends on a single three-hour test which has slowly become an inflated academic icon. This system should be revised, and perhaps we should follow the guidelines of an observation made by the College Board, which states, "This additional test should be regarded merely as a supplementary record. To place too great an emphasis on test scores is as dangerous as the failure properly to evaluate a score." v


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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