BOZTEPE: SAT is not valid test of intelligence, should be eliminated

Opinions Column: Kaanotations

Ah yes, the SAT — also known as the Saddening Analytical Torment. Well, it actually stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but you get the picture. Every year, thousands of students miss out on their dream school, regardless of high GPAs, plenty of school involvement and extracurricular activities strictly because of their SAT scores. Those who normally do substantially well on the SAT spend over $1,000 on classes that go over tricks and other memorization tools to do well on the SAT. So then let me ask the reader this: Does that sound fair, or is the SAT more of a money game?

Well, there are, of course, students that do well on the SAT that have not paid for courses. But these students may just be very good at taking standardized tests. Let’s start to break down the SAT, flaws and all. For starters, the majority of the math section of the exam consists of topics you would have learned in middle school and your freshman year of high school. Most students take the SAT during their junior and senior year when they are taking pre-calculus and trigonometry. Therefore, remembering the basic definitions and forms for equations can be a problem for many students, myself included.

The SAT does not declare success, if anything, it mostly shows your socio-economic position in society before your actual intellect. A strong GPA and honors/AP courses should prove to hold more value. But that does not mean that I oppose an entrance test into higher education. Everyone is intelligent in many different aspects of life and that also includes subjects in school. For example, if a high school student hopes to study philosophy in college, they might be more adept in writing and history classes versus being anything above average at algebra. But if they aren’t going to be studying a major that has any connection to mathematics, it should not be their fault that they did not achieve better than "satisfactory" on the math section. Students apply to separate programs within their school, and I believe that we should either scrap the SAT and create a new test or change the format of the current exam. For starters, we should scratch out having more questions than the time permitted, add in more real-life math problems versus questions just based off memorization certain formulas. These are just a few suggestions out of many more constructive changes this test needs if it really wants to have such a crucial role in admissions.

Apart from the math section, we must touch upon the flaws of the writing section content. If it isn’t obvious by now, my column consists of many sassy remarks, metaphors and other fun literary sources. I bring this up because the SAT just doesn’t want to deal with deep thinkers. Many deep thinkers tend to read slow, but because they do not want to miss any valuable information they can either add into the essay part of the exam or help them choose the best multiple-choice option. But, if I am to answer 35 questions in 30 minutes, how can I thoroughly read into each problem? Exactly, I can’t— that is the problem. I’m not against a time constraint but having more questions than the time permitted does not give me a clear mind of focus I could have had. I could have thoroughly thought about which answer would make the best sense in whichever situation I’m placed in, rather than checking the clock constantly and breaking my focus.

College is so much more than one standardized test essentially choosing which school you are able to attend. College is about being yourself, finding yourself, and growing intellectually as well as socially. My SAT does not define me or my IQ, and it should not define yours either. Ditching the SAT or at least minimizing the value of it would prove to be better for those who take higher level classes and show their hunger to learn. If college is about learning and not the grades, why would our benchmark to get into college be memorization instead of showing our actual potential and promise? We may not have had the chance to be around during a time where the SAT was looked upon more marginally, but that does not mean that we cannot make a change for the younger generations, we must speak out.

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," runs on alternate Fridays. 

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Kaan Jon Boztepe

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