The bombarding changes to the SAT produces new way of studying and preparation

Showing both the ACT and SAT saying that we can achieve more once we prepare for the test.

Showing both the ACT and SAT saying that we can achieve more once we prepare for the test.

Prior to the College Board’s decision to change the SAT, senior Enya Burrow had to go through the frustrating process of trying to prepare and figure out when her class would be taking the test.

“As a senior,“ Enya said, “I thought it was strange that they gave us a date for the SAT a month before taking [the SAT]. They didn’t even tell us during the summer that we were going to take it as soon as we got back to school, but most of us were understanding.”

With Enya’s class being one of the last to participate in the essay portion of the SAT, she didn’t anticipate the college board would remove the essay portion off of the test any time soon.

But Enya doesn’t see the change as unfair when it comes to the essay because she and other seniors had countless hours of preparation. 

“In all honesty,” Enya said. “The essay was one of the easiest essays I’ve ever written.” 

After hearing the news that the College Board was removing the essay portion, Enya realized how futile the portion was in regards to the test.

“I don’t think I would’ve done better [without the essay] mainly because the date was thrown at us out of nowhere,” Enya said. “A lot of us didn’t know if we were even going to take [the SAT].”

A lot of my other friends didn’t have to take the SAT because most colleges aren’t looking for the scores this year.

— Enya Burrow

After being informed that some of her friends in different states were not required to take the test, she didn’t expect to take it this year due to the pandemic. 

Although Enya didn’t have much time to prepare for the test, freshman Lillian Krug, who has never taken the SAT or the PSAT, is grateful for the changes in the test and all the time she does have to prepare.

In particular, Lillian is looking forward to having the extra time to double-check every aspect of her test prior to turning it in.

“I feel that [the SAT] will be better because now we can focus more on the grammar parts and have more time to study than having to prepare for the essay since it’s more open than the rest of the test,” Lillian said.

Due to the changes to the SAT, Lillian’s grade will have to use other means of preparation to be ready for the new and improved test. 

The whole idea of the SAT changing made Lillian contemplate how she’d do if they kept the original format of the test. 

“I think I would’ve done okay,” Lillian said. “I’m not very good at writing essays, so I think I’ll do better now since there isn’t an essay portion.”

In Lillian’s eyes, she doesn’t believe that they plan on removing the test any time soon. But even though Lillian never got the opportunity to take the original test, she and the rest of her classmates will have it easier to prepare for the test.

Since they took out the writing portion, it saves some students the fate of stressing about writing their essays within the given time period, but it may not give others the opportunity to shine through the writing portion. Assistant principal John DeStefano doesn’t believe it will affect them much since they still have other components to master.

“Some students get anxiety because writing isn’t their strong suit,” DeStefano said. “Others are short-changed because they thrive in [that] area that they enjoy since they’re strong writers.”

DeStefano isn’t a big fan of standardized tests; he thinks students are over-tested. He said it is a nice way to collect data, but not exactly the most accurate way to grade a student’s academic abilities. And when it comes to why they decided to change the test, he has no idea.

“I don’t have a clue why,” DeStefano said. “I was somewhat surprised when I read the email; maybe it’s because of the pandemic or how overwhelmed the students were, but they do have the data to support the change since it produces a lot of anxiety.” 

School counselor Jodi Arsulowicz, however, thinks college admissions had something to do with it.

“It’s because of college admissions,” Arsulowicz said. “Colleges were not using the writing scores. They also don’t have subject area tests, which were used instead of AP credits [because] very few students were using the subject tests; they decided to take it off. The bigger issue was the writing portion, and colleges were not using [it] as much as they did prior.”

In regards to the lowerclassmen needing to prepare for the SAT, Arsulowicz believes it will relieve the students of some stress since they won’t need to prepare for an entire essay.

“Some writing components will be tested, “Arsulowicz said, “[but] they will just be tested differently, taking the pressure off of students and teachers. Teachers don’t need to stress over showing the students about the format of the test unless the state requires it.”

Arsulowicz doesn’t know what will happen in Michigan when it comes to taking the test, but she is waiting for College Board to inform schools about how to prepare the students. 

Although DeStefano doesn’t quite know if the College Board will ever get rid of the SAT, he and Arsulowicz have found statewide tests to be unpredictable. As of right now, fewer colleges are requiring students to take the SAT due to COVID-19, but anything is possible once the pandemic is officially over.

“Right now, the SAT is optional for college admissions,” Arsulowicz said. “But they decided to replace the MAP testing. In replacement, they’re using the SAT since Michigan is using it for benchmark data even if the colleges don’t use it, but [the] ACT was [once] required [too], and now SAT is cheaper, so that’s why we use the SAT.”