High School Students Fight to Get High SAT Scores


Ahmed Alsubai, Staff Reporter

For most high school students, standardized tests play an important role in their college application process. With almost every school requiring a form of standardized test to be submitted for evaluation, students all across America and even other nations are on a constant battle to obtain the highest scores possible. The most widely accepted test by colleges and the most common standardized test students often take is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT for short.


First introduced in 1926, its name, scoring, and even format has changed several times over the course of many years. At first the SAT was an IQ test used to check the intelligence of recruits to the US Army and only a tiny portion of student took the test at the time. The test however, grew in popularity and would later be changed both in how it was assigned to students, and how the test itself was constructed. The biggest changes consisted of splitting the SAT into two distinct sections, the verbal section and the quantitative analysis section, and the change of the time limits involved to give takers plenty of time to complete the full test. All these changes were made in an attempt to make the test more fair for students and a better representation of how students would perform in college. 


The matter of whether the SAT is a “fair” representation of students has always been a heated debate among students and colleges alike. Many disprove the idea of allowing a single test to hold so much weight in the college admission process. Even high achieving students like the previous student president, Josh Vales, felt that, “[the] SAT is relied upon too much by colleges, it doesn’t even show colleges what students are actually capable of.”


The SAT has always been considered a test biased for the wealthy, with tutors and courses costing as much as ten thousand dollars. In fact, many prestigious colleges contain many students within the top one percent in terms of income. Institutions such as, Colgate University have been previously surveyed with results stating that about 22.6% of their students were in the top one percent in terms of income, with average SAT scores of over 1400 according to prepscholar.com. Of course not all students that score high on the SAT are wealthy, but the trend has more often than not remained the same, making students with lower incomes score lower on the SAT.


The SAT however, isn’t all entirely a “pay to win” test. Its purpose of showing colleges how well prepared students are for college level work has remained the same for the majority of its life time, and despite the SAT’s faults, many believe it’s still the only reliable way to show colleges student’s potential. Michael Elkayam, MBHS Senior said, “the SAT isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s probably the most standardized way for comparing students worldwide.”


Many have proposed that only a student’s GPA should be used to show the students performance in school and potential for college but this idea has its faults too. If only GPA without SAT scores were to be considered for colleges, this would cause a major problem for many students. This is particularly a problem since every single high school is different and some may put more weight on particular categories such as homework or tests. This will impact student’s grades in different ways, making it so that in one school environment someone might have a far higher GPA, while another might hinder the student. The SAT being a standardized test allowed for an equal comparison of students abilities on the topics in the test. This therefore allows for colleges to identify students academic abilities far easier than just using GPA, making it easier to pick out the students that fit best into that particular college.


At the end, the SAT and other standardized tests aren’t perfect, but they allow for an easier comparison of students abilities. The wealthy may have the upper hand but money doesn’t define nor restrict a person’s ability to learn, a student’s motivation also plays a huge part in their success.