The first time you ever heard of the SAT was probably shortly after you entered high school. Many guidance counselors begin stressing the importance of SATs in your freshman year and chances are that early in your high school career you’ve been ushered into prepping for this test right from the get-go.
This test is designed to be a tool to measure students’ aptitude, critical thinking, and test taking skills, but many students have many misconceptions about the significance of the SATs. During SAT time, several questions from students emerge throughout high schools as they stress and worry about taking the test.
Questions they may ask themselves are Is the SAT is really as important as our guidance counselors and teachers insist? Will it affect my chances in getting into college? Does it measure how intelligent I am? These are all valid questions.
Here are some of the largest common myths associated with the SAT:
Misconception #1: You can’t go to college without taking the SAT
While it is true a good percentage of colleges consider SAT scores, over the years they’ve decreased in priority. Community and junior colleges admissions don’t accentuate them and other universities don’t place full emphasis on the SAT.
A student can go to college with a low SAT score, or even without have taken the SAT. Whether or not the SATs are a critical part of the application process depends on the school applied to. More competitive schools probably look more carefully at scores because of the limited space for accepted students, but even if you didn’t do well on the test, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t go to college.
Misconception #2: You’re only recruited by a college because of your SAT score
This is another fallacy since colleges look at a potential students’ entire profile. This includes coursework taken in high school, grades, sports, clubs, recommendation letters, awards, the essay and extra-curricular activities.
Many people can ace a test, but this does not necessary measure overall intelligence and it does not account for wisdom. Other life experiences weigh into a college’s interest in prospective students.
Misconception #3: The SAT test measures intelligence
The SAT measures test taking skills and demonstrates how well a student was prepared for the test, but the score does not reflect on how smart someone is. Students can successfully enter and complete college without having aced the SAT test. The SAT does not show a strong representation of knowledge, it just demonstrates how well the student took the test.
Misconception #4: Don’t guess on the answers
Strategically guessing may actually help your score. The best technique is to eliminate some of the answers you know are definitely not the correct ones, and then make an educated guess.
This gives you a chance at the correct answer to gain a point, whereas a blank answer automatically counts as zero credit. Using strategies to find the correct answer will increase the chances of getting a question right and not lose that quarter of a point for a wrong answer.
Misconception #5: The math portion is based on high level math
This is also an untruth as the math questions are basic concepts questions. The structure of the test is what makes it “hard”, not the actual theories which are represented in the SAT questions.
Often the SAT is misjudged to be the central component of the college application process, but in reality it is only a portion of a prospective student’s application package. There are many myths about the SATs and these are a few of the common ones.
The most important thing is to prepare for the SAT, take a deep breath and simply try the best you can. The SAT scores will not make or break your future, so don’t worry if the results aren’t what you’d hoped.