EDITOR: Does the SAT accurately reflect a student's potential?

How much can be determined about a student's potential given that he or she has 20-25 minutes to answer 30 questions or more? How does a 25-minute essay establish a student's writing skills and critical thinking?

These are questions circling the pool of juniors and seniors pressured to take the SAT. As a junior myself, I often find myself pondering instances in my future when I will be given less than a minute to work out a math problem. And when would I have exactly 25 minutes to write a rushed and poorly put together essay (excluding the dreaded morning I take the SAT)? How does this prepare me for my future?

Along with many of my classmates, I struggle with test taking. Often teachers will tell me that I am a very intelligent and skilled student who shows a lot of potential — but my test scores don't reflect that. Yes, there are SAT prep classes out there. But when classes are designed to teach students shortcuts, tricks and methods for guessing — what does that say about the test?


Santa Rosa