Contrary to what a lot of us think, the SAT exam is in no way designed to assess your level of scholastic achievement. Instead, it’s supposed to predict how well you’ll do in higher education: statistically speaking, your SAT score has a lot to do with how well you’ll maintain your high school grades during your first year of college.
More importantly, the SAT doesn’t care whether you got your K-12 education at a public school, a private school, or your own dining room table; it puts your highly individual scholastic achievements into a more national perspective. Plus, the fact that the SAT involves cramming before a big test certainly won’t hurt your future college career.
Whether or not this is enough to get you motivated, the truth is that your SAT score might determine how you spend the next four years of your life. And if the current economy has taught us anything, it’s that nobody can afford to put off getting a college education right now.
Which is why we’ll give you the bad news first. Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the average SAT math score in America dropped by 5 points, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. What’s worse, the average critical reading score dropped by 7 points during that same time. The writing portion has proven to be the most challenging overall and consistently racks up the nation’s lowest average score.
The good news is that if there’s any time in history you’d want to have to take the SAT, it’s during the internet age. Between the encyclopedias, practice exams, tutorials, and full-blown courses that you’ll find online, there’s no shortage of resources out there to help you prepare.
What’s more, online resources are generally cheaper and more flexible than their real-world counterparts. Studying interactively at home in your PJ’s while listening to music? Sure beats the heck out of dropping a few grand on private classes or pulling all-nighters at the library. (Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, learning how to pull an all-nighter won’t hurt your college career, either.)
Just imagine trying to learn all that SAT vocabulary back when every definition you’ve ever wanted wasn’t an internet connection and some keyboard clicks away. Combine that kind of access with some good old-fashioned memory tricks (assuaaage: something that someone suaaave does to your fears in order to persuaaade you that you aren’t being made an ass of) and you’ve not only bumped up your critical reading score, but also given yourself more to work with on the writing section.
And while we’re on the topic of the writing section, let’s be honest about the fact that the internet isn’t always doing us a favor: between things like instant messaging, Twitter, LOLcats, and emailing via mobile phone, our collective writing ability is trending rapidly downward. And as convenient as it may be, we can’t imagine that enjoying literature in 250-character chunks has done much for your reading comprehension, either. Moral of the story: maybe some quality time at the library is in order after all.