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Filed under Features, Top Stories

SAT causes nerves for students

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The Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, is a very important factor to colleges during the application process. Typically taken at least once during junior year, the SAT is important because it provides a fair way to compare high school students across the nation.

“The SAT is a much more accurate measure of learning than a grade point average. People can make sure they turn everything in but that doesn’t mean you’ve learned a whole lot. Especially at a school as competitive as Chapin, a high SAT score can make up for a lower class rank,” SAT Verbal teacher Tim Anderson said.

Many students do not take it seriously, but senior Sawyer Tedder says that the test can really help students.

“My SAT scores got me into my dream school and now they’re practically throwing scholarships at me. It was hard work, but it was more than worth it,” Tedder said.

Such an important test can make students anxious, though, especially if it is their first time taking it.

“I’m worried about taking it because I know that I need to get a good score so that I can go to a great college,” sophomore Pierson Haines said.

It’s normal to be nervous before taking the test because students often don’t know what to expect. Preparation and taking it several times can help ease the nerves.

“I wasn’t really nervous, mainly because I felt that I was well prepared for it. If you go in believing you know the material, you’re less likely to get nervous,” junior Megan Russell said.

Students who do not get their desired score the first time should not be worried.

“I’m not thrilled with my scores but I’m not really upset. I know I can take it again and I plan on taking more SAT prep courses beforehand,” junior Lea Ward said.

SAT courses can be helpful, but if a student does not have time in their schedule there are alternative ways of preparing.Andersonrecommends some simple things that can improve a student’s score.

“The best thing you can do for the verbal section is actually read something that is assigned to you and pay attention while you’re reading. If you want to do well on a reading test then you need to read. For math, it’s a lot of reasoning problems. The more problems you work the better you’ll get,” he said.

Many students recommend taking the SAT Verbal and SAT Math classes.

“SAT verbal is a good way to enhance your vocabulary. If you’re weak in math or just want to know all the short cuts I would encourage you to visit the myth, the legend, the human calculator, the top secret Cold War robotic research project: WF Sullivan,” senior Excellence Carlos said.

Other students suggest preparing not only mentally but physically the night before.

“Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, and bring snacks for the breaks. Also, try to take it at your school. It helps to be in a familiar environment,” junior Ben Davis said.

Nearly everyone agrees that it is important to not stress over it too much.

“If you get too nervous you mess up and waste time. Sure, it’s a very important test, but you can take it as many times as you want,” Ward said.

The SAT focuses primarily on critical reading and math, which not all students are good at. An alternative to the SAT that does not get as much attention is the ACT.

“It’s because we’re east of theMississippi. It used to be if you were west of theMississippithe ACT was the test, but now it’s easy to register to take either test. Both tests are decent with what they do, SAT is just tradition really,”Andersonexplains.

Junior Grant Vincent prefers the ACT.

“I think the ACT is easier because it focuses on math and science, and I’m much better at science than I am at English,” Vincent said.

Senior Hayden Schelble also prefers the ACT, but not simply because he prefers science to English.

“I hate the SAT. I think the ACT is much fairer and is less opinion based. On the SAT, some of the questions are more a matter of what you personally think is a better answer, not just one specific answer,” he said.

Regardless of which test a student prefers, it is important to take one or both as most colleges require it on applications.

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