What Can You Expect When You Take the SAT?

Not the most exciting thing to look forward to...

For juniors, spring is the most popular time to take the SAT, followed by another round of testing in the fall if necessary. So as seniors are making their final calculations on which school has the greatest merit, juniors are nose deep in SAT prep books and practice tests.

No matter how much time you have spent preparing, there is always that anticipatory anxiety, and one item on everyone’s mind, as this informative article suggests, is the essay section. The mid-march SAT launched an unexpected essay prompt with a focus on pop culture leaving many with mixed feelings. While some felt it was a step in a positive direction allowing the test to appeal to its teenage audience, others had a quite different reaction:

“There was a hue and cry that the question put some of the best students at a disadvantage because they were often too busy with other, worthier pursuits to be watching Snooki and The Situation. Some students complained they'd been blindsided.”

According to the College Board, which creates and administers the test, the topic was broad enough to encourage good writing, and the essay itself is much less about the topic than it is about the quality of writing. Michael Kuchar, the superintendent of schools and guidance director at Bergenfield High School, states that you can still do well without any knowledge of the topic as long as you follow the right recipe which includes four paragraphs: a thesis, two supporting paragraphs, and a summary which refers back to the question.

As you cram in those last days of study, remember that while there is no way to predict the questions in advance, knowing the formula that the test makers are looking for will give you an advantage.