Common myths about the SAT- Standardized Tests
Nobody likes the SAT’s, or as my school called them- The Stupid Ass Tests. Junior and senior years are stressful enough without adding another giant test in there. Unfortunately most colleges require students to take the SAT’s. Before you do, make sure you know the facts. Don’t believe everything you hear.
“You can’t prepare.” Not true. There are many ways to prepare for the SAT’s. Some schools offer SAT prep courses. Or, students can take prep courses at nearby institutions for small fees. Practice SAT books are available everywhere and really help. They provide past tests and answer sheets. Other ways to study include making vocabulary flash cards or joining a study group. Flash cards will help you learn new words and will aid you during the analogy sections. Study groups help because as you quiz your fellow students, you’ll learn the material.
“The person next to you will take the same test. You can copy them.” False. First of all, you shouldn’t be cheating. I’m totally against it, but I know it does happen. Second of all, several different tests are distributed throughout your test-taking room. The person in front of you, the person behind you, and the two on either side of you could all have different tests. If you copy their answers, you’ll be putting incorrect answers down for your own test
“You will run out of time.” Depends. According to collegeboard.com, most students finish at least three fourths of the questions. If you’ve been practicing by taking practice SAT’s, you’ll be in better shape than those who haven’t. During practice test taking, you’ll need to time yourself in order to imitate real test conditions. That isn’t to say that you will definitely finish the real test if you’ve finished the practice ones on time. Stress and panic may influence you and cause you to answer slower than you have previously. But by taking timed practice tests, you’ll have a great shot of training yourself to finish quickly and with time to spare.
“You should leave it blank if you don’t know it.” Depends. A blank answer loses you no points, but also gains you no points. If you have an idea, or can eliminate a choice, you should make a guess. If not, leave it blank. Certain sections take off points for an incorrect answer, so find out which they are ahead of time and keep that in mind. But again, if you can make an educated guess, you should.
“You should put C’ if you don’t know the answer.” False. Somewhere along the way, the rumor got started that C’ was the answer to put down if you aren’t sure. As stated above, try to eliminate answers you know for sure are incorrect. Don’t pay any attention to the C’ rumor.
“If you do poorly you’ll never be accepted anywhere.” Again, not true. SAT’s aren’t the only scores that colleges look at. Classes, grades, extra-curriculars, and many other things factor in. Some schools believe that the SAT is an unfair way to test all students, and don’t even pay much attention to the SAT score. So don’t panic if your score isn’t what you hoped it would be.
“You can only take them once.” Not true. I took the SAT’s probably more than most- four times. I got better each time. Many students take them two to three times. Don’t be ashamed if you do poorly the first time. Now you’ll know what to deal with when you take them again.
Keep all of these in mind when you start preparing for, and are taking, the tests. There are a lot of myths out there about these tests, and some simple research can set you straight. Just remember to try your hardest and not panic. Take it one question at a time. Remember, you can always take them again! Good luck.