top of page

The  SAT   Experience

By Bo Wen Zhou

You don’t study for the SAT.                                                                       

No one really studies for the SAT.                                                       

Yes, you might have a prep book, pencils, erasers, coffee, tissues, and  maybe an obligatory tutor (or two).                                                    


Yes, you might be trapped in a perpetual cycle of self-hate while you figure out what an author means when he says his father hated him, whether to use “build” or “construct” in a sentence, or fail at simple addition. 


Yes, you might shed tears at your desk as you are reminded about your own family hardships, repeat the same sentence in your head fifteen times, or obtain 391.03 when all the choices are between 1 and 2.                       


But no, you still haven’t studied for the SAT. Not in the way you would  think.       


I’m not making sense right now, right? Welcome to the world of College    Board.

Based on the information provided above, what best describes the author’s attitude towards the SAT? 

A. Annoyed and bitter

B. Enraged and exasperated

C. Furious and irate

D. Optimistic and excited

Got your answer? Good. Check the answer key. The answer’s B. You suck. But why did you get it wrong? Well, according to Khan Academy, “A is wrong because it’s incorrect. C is wrong because it’s incorrect. If you even considered D, College Board offers testing accommodations. B is the right answer because it is.”


You must be quite frustrated now. I mean, when your reading comprehension test is just College Board having a seizure on, it’s frankly impossible to do well. Their logo’s an acorn for a reason. They drive you nuts. They’re a tough nut to crack. They decimate your health in large amounts. They aren’t human.

Don’t be scared. You have eight official practice tests to spend eight afternoons on! Normally, if you spend that much time messily bubbling on answer sheets and remembering how you failed preschool coloring, I’d tell you to get a life. But here, practice does help. The more, the better. [2]

[2] At this point, the author is considering adding the following sentence:

     “99% of students who do extra practice report a decline in mental health”


Should the author make this change?

A. Yes, it's a true fact.

B. Yes, it's a true fact that makes sense.

C. No, it's contradictory to something the author previously stated.

D. No, the author is just bad.

Ha! You thought I was going to give some legitimate advice. How inexperienced. Now check your answer. If you chose D, please leave.

You know what? I’m not going to tell you the answer to this one. Plot twist! Welcome to the panic simulation. Now that you don’t know the correct answer to an impossibly hard question, I can tell you’re frightened. Your palms are sweaty, and getting three Cs in a row is easily lunging your brain in DEFCON 1. You’re going to second guess every move that you make. Deal with it.

43 That dread is going to start at question 1 and not go anywhere.

As used in line 43, which of the following has the closest meaning to the word “dread”?

A. Alarm

B. Bad Feeling

C. Ill Feeling

D. Oh god why

Okay, I’ll spare you from this agony even though the correct answer is obviously D. But preparing for the SAT is the mental equivalent of putting someone who can’t touch his toes through a gymnast’s training routine. Your mind is bent and stretched uncomfortably to conform to College Board’s way of thinking. It doesn’t matter if you can argue for your “incorrect” answer. There’s always something wrong with it.


But you still have to do it. There’s no escape unless you pull a Bill Gates and win at life. But hey, College Board tries its best not to discourage you. It will slap you across the face with a 1200 anvil but then offer a wilted flower by accompanying it with the caption “this score shows that you’re on track for college!”


Now, write an essay in which you explain how I build an argument to persuade my audience that the SAT is one big casket of poppycock. In your essay, analyze how I unintentionally use any feature of your choice to strengthen nonexistent logic or persuasiveness in my argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage, which might not be any part of the passage, but deal with it.


Good luck.

bottom of page