The big deal behind those three letters: SAT

Mariana Solares

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Whether you like it or not, the SAT is a huge part of the college application experience. There is a lot of pressure on students to do well on the test, but a lot of students might underestimate the importance of the test when applying to a college.

“The test is very, very important”, Ms. Andrea Puschendorf, from the counseling department, explained how essential the scores you get on the test, “It’s one of the critical components in the college applications, so along with the other categories, such as the courses you’re taking and extracurricular activities, one of the other main components they look for are the SAT scores on the college applications that students are required to answer.”

SAT scores are commonly required by colleges students apply to in order for the application to be reviewed. There are a lot of dates for students to take the SAT, the closest being Dec. 2nd and March 10th of next year, but it is recommended for students to start taking the SAT during spring their junior year.

Ms. Puschendorf explained the reasoning behind this, “I really recommend that because there are so many things students have to do their senior year and it takes just one piece of the puzzle, they have just so many other things to worry about that we just want to make sure that they get that done so they don’t have to stress anymore about taking SAT/ACT exams.”

When asked about the tests, Senior Sebastian Romero, who took the SAT in his senior year, also thinks the tests should be taken junior year and suggested that students, “Just take as many practice SAT’s before taking the test.”

Ms. Puschendorf  added another way for any distraught students to practice, “take a prep course, and you can take that in various places. Some students go to Barnes and Noble, buy a book, and just study on their own, and there are also prep courses at USD, at UCSD.”

Mr. Greg Smyth, the math department chair, also made a point about the resources that are now available to prep for the SAT, “We didn’t have the computer resources that you guys do now, so it’s easier to prepare because you guys can do practice versions.” With the computer resources, students can pinpoint what areas they might be struggling in. Many students also take the SAT more than once which helps improve their score.

Sophomore Sarah Salisbury has taken the SAT twice, and while she doesn’t recommend taking the SAT until you have taken Algebra 2,  she did learn how to tackle the test, “When it comes down to it, it’s all about strategy. The test is designed in a way that is fairly predictable, so you have to learn the test inside and out if you want to get a good score…know how the test is going to try and trick you, and you’ll be able to avoid many of the common SAT mistakes.”

Khan Academy website for free SAT practice

So, are you preparing for the SAT or planning to retake it? If you have any more questions on dates and need practice, be sure to take full advantage of the resources at hand and visit the College Board and Khan Academy websites.

College Board paired up with Khan academy to provide free personalized SAT prep which, as stated in Khan academy’s website, offers,  “world-class SAT preparation available to anyone, anywhere, we hope to level the playing field so that every student has equal opportunity for college readiness!”

There are many resources available for students with all the technology that makes communicating ideas and education much easier. Now, it is only up to the students to use these resources and prepare for the most important test of their high school career.

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