Every high school junior is familiar with the fervor to study hard and do well on the SAT. After all, it is the first foray into high-stakes standardized testing for most students. Between preparatory classes and memorizing those ever-present vocabulary index cards, one would think performing well on the SAT is predominantly determined by how hard a student studies.
While I am not disputing the importance of diligent preparation, I believe performance on the SAT has more to do with how a student approaches the test. Considering the fact that the SAT bills itself as a ‘Reasoning’ test, much of it is focused on the student’s aptitude for approaching seemingly unfamiliar situations. Equipped with the right test-taking strategies and a thorough knowledge of the scenarios the test generally presents, mastering the SAT is quite manageable for anyone.
What I find the most interesting about the SAT is the straightforward nature of the exam. As a high school student, I remember approaching the SAT expecting it to be a convoluted exam replete with “holes” I would inevitably fall into. In reality, the exam is not misleading and rewards those who approach its questions with a strong sense of objectivity.
While the test can sometimes be confusing in its semantics, familiarity and practice with all the “tricks” that can be presented is key to success. Aside from test-taking strategies and familiarity, I find that a student’s best asset for any form of standardized testing is composure. By keeping calm and maintaining confidence even in times of uncertainty, a student is more likely to be able to analyze a given situation and answer correctly.
When one considers the importance of the SAT in college admissions, it is easy to see why it seems such a formidable opponent. However, if undertaken in the correct manner with the right mindset, it is a test that can quite easily be made a friend rather than an enemy.
By Rohan Gheewala, Private Tutor