Is the SAT worth it?

Three previous FHS panthers speak about the SAT and answer essential questions.
Practice for the SAT with a Princeton Review test prep book. This book includes practice test and SAT strategies.
Practice for the SAT with a Princeton Review test prep book. This book includes practice test and SAT strategies.
Isabella Trull

 

The SAT is a standardized test constantly associated with intelligence and getting into a “good” college, but is it really an accurate measure of intelligence? Is it necessary to get into college? Today, more than ever, applicants and admission officers are asking these questions. Below, three previous FHS Panthers speak about their opinions and experiences with the infamous SAT. 

What does SAT measure?

The SAT includes an english half and a math half. The test is out of 1600 points, and top colleges have an average SAT of upwards of 1500. As it is still considered in many college admissions processes, wondering if the purpose of this test is reasonable. The SAT, similar to any other standardized test, is supposed to measure a student’s knowledge and ability to apply it. However, there are many flaws within the test structure.

“I do not think the SAT is an accurate representation of your academic ability mainly because you are in a timed and stressful environment as well as trying to learn techniques and tricks that you are not taught in class or in school.”

-Nihara Lijan

Recent research from a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research measured the cortisol in a group of students spit on a day they took a standardized test and on a day they did not. The testing found that the average cortisol of students increased by 15% before taking a standardized test. Cortisol is a hormone usually released to regulate stress. Its release, as a response to a standardized test, displays the large amount of stress exhibited on the day of a standardized test. Stress can lead students to do worse on a test and may hinder them from fully displaying their knowledge. In addition to stress, more studies have been conducted on how socioeconomic status affects scores on the SAT. One project called The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford has looked into the wealth factor by utilizing SAT scores and economic data from schools in the United States. While the SAT is supposed to highlight academic intelligence, there are many factors beyond knowledge that can affect overall success on the SAT. 

The reading section of a SAT practice test. (Photo by Isabella Trull)

Is the SAT required for college?

Covid-19 led to a massive decrease in the requirement for SAT scores. Unfortunately, not all schools are test-optional, and even those that are, use scores as a factor in admissions. As of 2023, more than 1,800 schools are test-optional throughout the United States. Tanvi Shah, a freshman at the University of Florida, stated that she was required to submit her SAT scores when applying to the University of Florida. Shah also said that while she does not believe scores are “make or break” she  does think they can “help someone who may have a lower GPA or not as many extracurriculars”. Another previous FHS panther, Anna Hoffmann, says that the “SAT is a good thing to do if applying to college”. Hoffmann added that the SAT “can impact scholarships”. Merit-based scholarships can be decided and provided based on a student’s SAT score. In summary, many colleges do not require a student to submit their SAT score, but it can still be helpful to give the student an admissions boost or scholarship opportunity.

Tips?

Remember that a score NEVER defines you, and you should always remember that there is more to your college application than a standardized test score.

— Nihara Lijan

Anna Hoffmann took the SAT once but recommended that students take it twice if possible because it allows a student to submit a superscore. A superscore is the combination of a student’s best english and math sections. To register for the SAT, students must have a College Board account. Khan Academy provides free SAT prep to help students understand what they need to work on for the SAT. There are also many books and online resources that provide practice tests. Other test options include the ACT. However, deciding whether to take the SAT or any other standardized test for college is dependent on each student’s individual situation. With the SAT’s relevance in question, the bigger question should be: how the entirety of the college admissions process might change in the near future.

 

 

About the Contributor
Isabella Trull, Editor and Writer
Isabella Trull is a Junior in her third year with Pantherbook. She enjoys writing all types of articles involving the school community. Isabella is a Model Congress officer and plays for the Girl's Tennis Team. In addition to writing, she also loves reading in her free time. She is looking forward to writing more articles this year and getting to know community members through Pantherbook.