Don’t let the SAT define you

Andrew Hong, Guest Columnist

Juniors are about to embark on their SAT, a test that has been a large part of a teenager’s high school life for nearly a century. The SAT is an important test; it determines your future, gets you into college, and measures your intelligence. This is all wrong. These are things that we high schoolers foolishly put in our heads for no good purpose. The SAT causes heaps of unneeded stress on teenagers when it shouldn’t. Here’s why:
First of all, the SAT does not measure your intelligence, and it especially doesn’t measure your self-worth. I know – and I think most people know at least one – there have been some extremely smart, hard-working, and creative thinkers who scored badly on the SAT and PSAT. An SAT score doesn’t reflect one’s ability to deeply understand a passage, solve advanced calculus problems, form independent thoughts, think critically about a question, or create solutions to complex issues. An SAT score reflects one’s ability to take the SAT.
As I’ve gotten better at taking this college entrance exam, this has become more and more clear to me. My score improved 140 points; not because I got smarter (well, maybe a little), but because I got used to the test and learned strategies. One of the biggest things that helped me improve my reading score was, believe it or not, stopping myself from critically comprehending passages as well as forming my own opinions.
So, Eagles, don’t think for a second that your SAT score invalidates your intelligence.
Secondly, colleges are starting to care less and less about your SAT score. Twenty years ago, high schoolers had to take loads more tests to go to college. Schools have realized that test scores do little to measure one’s intelligence. Additionally, every single admissions page on a college website makes sure people know standardized testing is one of many factors that go into getting accepted.
You also don’t need a super high score to be admitted to an Ivy League university. Last year, David Hogg, who became a gun-control activist after the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, got into Harvard with a 1200-range score. The highest one can score is a 1600.
Additionally, 75 percent of University of Washington students scored below 700 on the SAT reading section, and more than 25 percent scored below 600. Meanwhile, Stanford University only admitted 8 percent of applicants with a perfect SAT math score in 2016, a number that has probably decreased since. That means 92 percent of perfect scorers were rejected. This goes to show schools like Stanford are not simply looking for perfect scores. A mediocre SAT score isn’t going to make or break you, and it definitely should not keep you up at night or deter you from applying to your dream school.
That being said, still take the SAT seriously. The most important thing for you to succeed on this test is to relax, think positively and be confident.
After every practice session, tell yourself you’re doing great. While preparing is key, half of the test is being in the right headspace on test day. Don’t study the night before, sleep for at least eight hours, relax and only think about conquering the test. And if you do horribly, just remember the SAT does not define you.