SAT techniques fail to address critical thinking


Sara Davis, Staff Writer

If you walk into a high school, a local bookstore, a library or even in some colleges, you will most likely see an advertisement for some type of add for the SAT tests.

Throughout students high school experiences, the idea is instilled into their brains that getting an above average score on your SATs will be your golden ticket to get you accepted into the college of their dreams.

College websites often list minimum SAT scores for acceptance into their programs, and some will provide scholarships for exceptional scores.

Because of these standards, high schools and colleges offer SAT preparation classes to help students score above and beyond these standards.

The SATs generally consist of a math, reading and writing section in order to test the student’s academic abilities.

According to Time Ideas, today there is an essay section on the exam, but until 2005 instead of a writing section of the exam there was an an analogy section.

Time Ideas stated that the purpose of this change was to show “real” language skills instead of “mechanical” analogies.

This idea did not exactly go according to plan.

Recent studies suggest that the writing section of the exam only test a student’s ability to “pull something out of the air” on demand.

Time Ideas says that the evaluators of the exam are encouraged to take as little as two minutes to grade the essays.

Two minutes is not nearly enough time to thoroughly read and score an essay that is at least five paragraphs long.

Another downside to these essays is that they most likely are not written in agreement with the student’s feelings.

Time Ideas suggests that students are often encouraged to use “fancy” words and told to write about opinions that they may not agree with.

Not many people think about these negatives, because it goes against the norms of society to disagree with the SATs and teaching strategies.

It is an argument that most students can relate to.

The general purpose of going to college is to earn a degree that will qualify you to obtain a job in the field of your choice.

The job market can be extremely competitive with the employers looking for the most qualified candidates possible. The qualifications come from what degree you earned.

Throughout the college experience and the job you obtain afterwards, the environment will require the individual to think critically or “out-of-the-box.”

In other words, it will require having to apply what you learned, and not just spitting out something you “memorized” or wrote five minutes before your class or exam.

If high school prepares students for the SATs and life afterwards, it would be in everyone’s best interest to prepare the students on how to think critically and to expand their vocabulary.

If students were taken off the track of “memorization,” maybe the quality of the service being done would improve in our everyday lives.