Silly Annual Tedious This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The letters SAT can symbolize stress and fear for most high school students. However, if one examines this "test," what does it really signify? Does it mean a person is brilliant if s/he scores a 1300? On the other hand, does it mean that a student should be considered less intelligent if s/he receives a "low score" of 800? In my opinion the SATs do not prove anything; they are not an accurate measurement of one's intelligence and academic ability. The SATs are just a test that society has forced teenagers to take, so that they can further classify, judge, and discriminate against those who don't achieve up to "their" standards.

There are theories that the SATs are given to test students on their ability to achieve and their intelligence. In my opinion, this "test" does not achieve this. For example, when I took the PSATs, I sat with a friend who has lower grades than I do. I also know my class rank is higher than hers. So, to follow the theory, I should have scored reasonably higher. However, that was not the case. "They" say that the better student should score better. Well, that was proven wrong when my friend and I received our scores. She scored in the thousands, while I scored well ... well ... it was much lower. This angers me: I, as a responsible student who, at the end of my sophomore year, was number eight in my class, received a score that, as my guidance counselor said, "can get better."

The SATs give no direction, no preparation for students. Okay, maybe there are prep courses, but they teach you tricks to get around the SAT. These can range from $500 to $1,000. A consequence of these courses is that only the fortunate students can raise their scores this way.

Hard working students should be proud of their accomplishments, whether they score high or low on the SAT. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Low scores on the SATs can result in a dramatic decrease in one's self-esteem.

I know what it feels like the day the PSAT scores arrive. Those who "test well" or who think they did well make a mad dash for the guidance office for their scores, while others (like me) wait to go down, hoping that by the time they get there, everyone else will have already gotten their scores.

High school administration and students with high SAT scores support the theory that the SATs are a significant factor in getting accepted by colleges. Well, this theory is false. First of all, deans, professors and teachers are now agreeing that the SATs are flawed. These flaws prevent students from achieving high scores. Colleges, even top-rated schools like Bates College (which is considered to be a small ivy league-type school) now state that SATs are optional. Colleges are putting less emphasis on the SATs because they have come to the conclusion that SATs aim at one particular race and class. This "ideal person" is an upper class, white student. This can be illustrated by some of the words used in the verbal section of the test. One can find words that describe food and drinks only served at very expensive restaurants, things and places that a normal teenager would not know about.

Many, I am sure, will disagree that the SATs are not accurate and are not needed. Some may say that students should work harder and take time to prepare for the test. Others may say that the SATs are a good measure of intellect. However, the fact that top-rated students are not achieving the scores that reflect their intelligence proves it's not the students' fault. It shows that the SATs need improvement; they need to be more realistic.

Everyone can achieve great things and teenagers should remember that they are intelligent and special whether they receive a 1400 or 400 on the SATs. The SATs are just a test, a test that only lasts three hours and will not determine your future. High SAT scores will not guarantee success; hard work and determination will. So I wish those who do not score as well as others expect them to, good luck and assurance that the SATs are not significant. They are only as important as one makes them. n


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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