An overview of the SAT

By Tiffany He, Clarion Staff Reporter

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a multiple-choice college admission test that is divided into three sections consisting of four tests: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and Essay. 

The Essay section was optional for students before January 2021: the College Board announced that the Essay would no longer be part of the SAT, leaving the total time for the SAT to be 180 minutes for all students–65 minutes for the 52-question Reading section, 35 minutes for the 44-question Writing section, 25 minutes for the 20 question non-calculator math section, and the last 55 minutes for the 38 question calculator-allowed math section.

In previous years, SAT scores used to be a major factor that colleges consider for students’ admission. But, according to a Forbes article, “Hundreds of colleges and universities temporarily have suspended the use of the SAT and ACT… and others have decided to permanently stop using such tests as part of their admission procedures because of concerns about their possible bias against racial minorities and students from lower-income backgrounds” in response to the pandemic.

Michael Brown, The University of California Provost, announced, “UC will continue to practice test-free admissions now and into the future,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

But in order to work with test-free admissions, colleges are putting more emphasis on student achievements. For example, the UC system has 14 categories to consider in student applications, including students’ GPA, personal statements, community involvement and record of courses (AP classes).

A junior at Kennedy who will be taking her first SAT test in early March believes that the SAT has some value because private colleges in California would look at it.

According to Kennedy counselor David Drotts, the SAT has certainly lost its impact, and private colleges are not the choice for all students. Drotts is aware that a lot of Kennedy students are not retaking the SAT multiple times. 

“I used to have a lot of students coming for fee waivers all the time and now I am not,” Drotts said.

For Kennedy juniors who took the test in early March this year, scores are available on the College Board website.

There are also students who choose to not submit their score after taking the test. For example, the SAT score can appear to be weaker than a student’s GPA, and therefore it “does not make sense to send your score [to the admissions office(s)] to make you look worse,” says Drotts.  If you are a good taker, submitting your SAT is not going to negatively impact your profile.

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