20 February 2010

A tip for SAT takers: don’t fight the test

One of the most-common issues that many SAT-takers face, particularly in Critical Reading, is the seeming randomness of many of the answers. While I do agree that the College Board occasionally does in fact come up with a set of answers choices that are uniformly awful, this is actually a pretty rare occurrence.

I say this because I have had countless conversations with students about why their (incorrect) answer was truly the right one, or why such-and-such answer could not possibly be correct. While I admire their conviction, my response, uttered from the bottom of my heart and with the greatest possible affection, is ‘Get Over It.’
My second response is: If you don’t like the answer, call the College Board and take it up with them. Or better yet, walk over to the offices across from Lincoln Center, and ask to speak to the person in charge.
Your job, dear SAT-taker, is to figure out WHY the College Board’s answer is the RIGHT answer, and why your answer is WRONG. In other words, you have to learn to think like your enemy. Resistance is futile and will get you nowhere.
The SAT is different from every test you have ever taken in school. Here’s why:
  • There is no extra credit
  • There is no partial-credit
  • The College Board does not care if the right answer was your second choice
  • The College Board does not care if the answer you picked made sense to you
  • The College Board does if ‘that’s not how you would have said it’
  • You cannot go to the College Board and wheedle a higher grade
So suck it up and deal;) It’s good practice for the rest of your life. Sometimes there isn’t any extra-credit there either.
Just a public service announcement.

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