Don't get 'testy' at SAT time

November 07, 1998



S-A-T ... three letters that strike a pulsating chord of F-E-A-R into the heart of every American junior and senior. Combine those letters with the equation "Under 1200 equals the state of being in which one never will get into a decent college, have a decent job or get a decent family and will eventually wind up in an alley fighting stray dogs for a pack of stale french fries" and you have a mix that will send any teenager into a panic attack. Not good.

--cont. from lifestyle--

SAT Tip No. 1: Use the bathroom before you sit down to take a three-hour test.

In the high-tech, high-anxiety, everyone-is-in-therapy days that we were born into, who could help but see the SAT as an always decisive and potentially nerve-racking pinnacle in our high school lives? Once we enter high school, everyone and his second cousin is bombarding us with SAT, college and career information, and piling our desks high with books, CDs, magazines, pamphlets and videos that serve no other purpose than to box us into a claustrophobic castle of information that, as everyone says, will determine the rest of our lives.


For the SAT itself, there is nothing more vile than those annoying little reading passages that defy subjectivity. Don't dare attempt to analyze, hypothesize or criticize - just give the middle-American, suburban right answer. When did our once unconventional generation let this test rule the rest of our lives, allowing it to mark away at our hopes, dreams and futures with a No. 2 pencil?

SAT Tip No. 2: Eat a good breakfast. Please note: A roll of Lifesavers and a can of Mountain Dew does not constitute a good breakfast.

Besides college usage, what is the purpose of these standardized tests that are checked and graded by a computer, have all the scores stored on a computer and are referenced by a computer? Conspiracy - mark this one up there with the Illuminate and the Roswell crash. What if the SAT is just a massive plot for worldwide conformity of the masses, so we will all think alike and never try to differentiate or attempt to prove our wrong answers right? Perhaps I just need to reduce my "X-Files" dosage.

SAT Tip No. 3: Get sleep. The day before SAT is not the night to go moshing until 3 in the morning.

Anyway, please don't confuse my beliefs, because I do that enough myself - writing things down distorts ideas. I, under no circumstances, advocate apathy toward education and learning in any form. Education is a wonderful thing, full of chances and thoughts and questions and paradoxes and all those things that will drive you nuts if you think about them too long.

After all, Socrates said, "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance."

Yet definitively, I must wonder if being able to multiply by a reciprocal on a standardized test is what the great philosopher truly meant by "knowledge."

Erica is a junior at St. Maria Goretti High School.

The Herald-Mail Articles