FHC juniors take on the SAT

After the students at FHC go away for a short period of time–away from the hectic week they’re used to–they walk back into school with testing on their minds. Although students are faced with quizzes and tests on a regular basis, what makes the week after spring break so special is that it’s time for the PSAT and SAT. 

Junior Lucy McLean is amongst those who have been given the opportunity to take the school-provided SAT. Lucy, however, has already taken it twice herself, but she believes that trying your best on it is important, as it is helpful for furthering your education. 

“The SAT is important to me because I want to get into a good college,” Lucy said. “I don’t want my score to bring down my application, and I also don’t want to have to go test-optional because it may be harder to get into a certain school if I didn’t submit my scores.”

While Lucy finds that providing test scores could be more beneficial than not, most colleges have recently been giving students the option to provide test information for their applications–this was one of many things that changed in the academic world due to the pandemic. As colleges change their requirements, Lucy has been preparing herself to do well on the SAT in advance. 

“Over the last year,” Lucy said, “I’ve taken SAT tutoring sessions and done one SAT per week. I’ve already taken the test twice, and I don’t plan on taking it again through school. I took it one time last June and didn’t like my score, so I took it again in November.” 

As Lucy has already taken the test twice and has faced the pressure more than a few times, junior Gavin Cai has been doing a bit of his own work and practicing on his own time to get ahead of the game, although he is planning to do more of that over spring break. 

“The SAT is a great tool for me,” Gavin said. “It measures my academic progress with students all across the country and shows how I compare. I have not done much specifically to prepare for the SAT, but I plan on doing some test prep and practice tests over break.”

A lot of students can feel overwhelmed just even thinking about the SAT, but not all do. Along with the feeling of nervousness and pressure, Gavin isn’t getting too stressed or worked up about it. Of course, he has his own expectations, but both Lucy’s and his aren’t much different. 

“I’m expecting a pretty good score,” Gavin said. “I’ve done well on the PSATs, but it’s obviously a new experience, so who knows what will happen. I’m not too nervous about it. SAT scores are less important to college admissions these days, and if I happen to get a score I’m not happy with, I can always study harder and retake it another time. Although, I am hoping for a good SAT score that will strengthen my college applications.”

For most students, the SAT isn’t quite something they are looking forward to coming back to after a refreshing break. Although those who are like junior Chris Shang would rather keep the standardized testing after spring break like it normally is. 

“I would rather have it after spring break,” Chris said. “The weeks before spring break usually have a lot of work, and I don’t think I could mentally handle taking such a long test with so much other work to do.”

As Chris shared his opinion about why the SAT should be after spring break, he also voiced how students shouldn’t be required to take it. 

I don’t think that it should be required for college applications. Some students can’t pay for a tutor, and they may have a harder time finding study materials that are free. Others may just be poor test takers where their score doesn’t accurately reflect their smarts.”

— Lucy McLean

“I don’t think that students should have to take the SAT,” Chris said. “It’s very standardized, which means that not everyone’s abilities can be accurately measured by it, such as people who are better at the arts.”

While this may be true, Lucy agrees with Chris on this idea. She believes that the SAT does not always showcase everyone’s best knowledge. 

“While I think the SAT can be a good addition to some students’ resumes,” Lucy said, “I don’t think that it should be required for college applications. Some students can’t pay for a tutor, and they may have a harder time finding study materials that are free. Others may just be poor test takers where their score doesn’t accurately reflect their smarts.”

Both Lucy and Chris give valid points as to why the SAT shouldn’t be a requirement. Other than the students’ views on the SAT, Assistant Principal Whitley Morse believes that there shouldn’t be so much weight on those who take it; she also hopes that students walk out of their testing rooms with confidence. 

This is a lot of testing for our juniors,” Morse said, “between the SAT, ACT WorkKeys, and M-STEP. I hope they walk away confident–that they have done the best they can, that it is over, and that if they so desire to take another one of the tests again, they now have the knowledge and experience to do so.”

Although the students at FHC have been learning new skills and ways to overcome the SAT, there are plenty of other options as well. People like Lucy, Chris, and Gavin are certainly not the only ones who are ready for the test, but most other students should be too. 

“There are great resources out there for students,” Morse said. “There is Khan Academy and private tutoring, but my advice for students is to not drive themselves crazy trying to cram the night before. You have been preparing for years now, use that knowledge. Get rest and try your best–you are not a single test score.”

With that in mind, getting helpful advice from teachers and other students that have already taken the test could be very beneficial. However, scoring well on the SAT is easily achievable with the right mindset.

Just practice,” Chris said. “The SAT has a lot of tricky questions that you’ll get used to after practicing them a few times. There isn’t a quick and easy way to do well on the test unless you prepare yourself for it.”