To many an American high school senior, the SAT is the mother of all tests. I beg to differ. Granted, SAT may have its own quirks and twists but beyond that, it’s just another test on your way to college. Perhaps it won’t be such a big deal if you really figure it out, and this is important. As with all undertakings, the foremost step to take in engaging the SAT is to really know and understand what it’s all about.
To be sure, the SAT journey won’t be a walk in the park for most but neither will be the other academic endeavors in your high school curriculum. The thing about SAT is that it’s generally alien to folks, and understandably so, because it is typically not part of the mainstream agenda at school. Also, whereas standard classroom tests or examinations are purposively knowledge attainment assessments, the fundamental makeup of the SAT is, by design and function, a performance test in application of that knowledge. In other words, the SAT does not assess what you know but how well you know it.
Like a good performance test, the SAT is centered on speed and precision. This is put forth in the form of time pressure and tricks & traps. These core demands, along with other characteristics and features unique to the SAT, inherently render the traditional skill sets, which we customarily acquire over the years in the course of our studies, inadequate for this particular test. In order to rock at taking the test, we must tweak our general approach to tests, both in terms of prep and execution in the SAT. That means discarding, or even violating outright, the golden study habits and practices we basically grow up with, at least when we are taking the SAT.
Love it or hate it, the SAT is a rite of passage for college bound students in the US. With such a requisite in place, colleges will be able to readily determine the performance potential of their applicants, American and international ones alike. That must be good.