SAT - Scream and Tremble

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By Tsring Dolma

Published April 20, 2021

SATs: the test that students have dreaded for many years. TYWLS students have since been stressing over these exams because this test determines every aspect of their future.  However, in these unprecedented times, the College Board has announced that multiple colleges and universities this year will go test-optional. This means that many colleges around the country will give applicants the option to either submit their SAT or ACT scores or complete the college application without it. This sudden announcement can be seen as a sign of relief for many students since they won't have to stress about this; however, due to these drastic changes, factors such as extracurriculars, grades, and recommendation letters are of much value as opposed to previous years. Here’s what students have said.

 

“This test is important since my parents expect a high score, so I don’t want to disappoint them,” said a junior at TYWLS who has been stressing about these exams since 6th grade. Through this test, several students have experienced emotional turmoil; they determine their future success solely on this test. “My life revolves around this test. I’m struggling to balance school, work, and personal life. I feel as though I have not experienced the normal teenage life, which sucks."   

These tests were designed to measure the skills that students have gained in high school. However, several studies have shown that there is no correlation between standardized testing and better cognitive performance. According to a study conducted by MIT neuroscientists, students who have the highest scores on tests do not constitute similar results in fluid intelligence: the ability to solve complex questions and think logically. 

 

“It doesn’t seem like you get these skills that you hope for, just by doing a lot of studying and being a good student,” said Gabrieli, member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research. The common belief that this test equally sets everyone for assessment is a huge misconception. The reasons for this statement are quite transparent. Those that are privileged are able to buy test prep books, hire private tutors, afford to retake the exam, etc. Whereas the rest don’t have these kinds of resources, further being disadvantaged by the system. Especially during the pandemic, many families are struggling financially; thus, students aren’t able to afford the regular SAT tutoring costs. Some juniors are stressed, by the fact that they aren't able to afford these programs; however, they want to receive a good score. 

 

“I didn’t want my parents to pay so much money for tutoring, but I wanted to do good. This puts me in a conflicting spot,” said Yangchen Gurung ’22.  

 

Many juniors have emailed the school administration to provide an affordable SAT program. In an attempt to address these concerns, the school has introduced an SAT program called Ivy Key Prep. Many juniors have shown their appreciation and gratefulness for this immediate action.  

 

“Initially, I was disappointed that our school didn't provide any programs. However, when they presented this program, I was extremely excited for this opportunity since it was free, and I’ve never gotten prep outside of school,” remarked Tenzing Choeyeng ’22.

 

The program is seen as an effective solution to address test anxiety. Many students have stated that this program has helped refresh their memory on topics that aren't discussed in an everyday virtual classroom.

 

Through this program, Principal Persad hopes that “students will gain confidence in specific areas they wish to improve and eventually be on the pathway to college success.” Dr. Persad congratulates all the juniors who have taken the initiative to advocate for their “path toward their future.”

“A Study of Fatigue Effects from the New SAT.” College Board | Research Support No. 2004-5   https://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/RR-04-46.pdf

“Even When Test Scores Go up, Some Cognitive Abilities Don’t.” MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 11 Dec. 2013, news.mit.edu/2013/even-when-test-scores-go-up-some-cognitive-abilities-dont-1211.