Uh-oh—according to the College Board, SAT scores, and reading in particular, are lower than they’ve been in decades. What’s causing the changing trend? Are your college plans doomed?
Well hold on to your future, because the statistics might not be as dire as they seem. And even if they are, you as the humble student can certainly beat the odds. It just takes a little analysis and little effort.
It’s possible that the lower scores are the result of growing numbers of test takers according to the College Board. As more and more students take the SAT, there may be many that have felt the pressure to do so but are not fully prepared. If true, this trend may highlight and increasing competitiveness in the college landscape.
Additionally, there are a growing number of students that speak English as a second language. If many of them are taking the SAT as well it would certainly be fair to say that their reading skills could easily be lower than those of a native speaker. But again, this trend would imply that more students, such as children from immigrant families, are entering the college market in larger numbers than before.
Still others claim that there are a host of other reasons such as the effects of No Child Left Behind policies, low household income levels, or the rising popularity of the ACT.
If you ask this humble blogger, I am curious as to the effect the internet itself might be having on reading and other studies, seeing as how low attention spans are rewarded by the wealth of entertainment available for free. YouTube anyone?
But the point is that in any case, it is important to do your best on the SAT and other tests that lead to college. You need not be a statistic, and a trend is no excuse not to prepare well and try hard. Here is some advice for the college-seeking test taker:
- Practice makes perfect. Find out where your weak areas are and do more to prepare yourself to face them. Many textbooks will have extra work in them that is not assigned as homework. Or search online and see what you can find!
- Get tutoring. There’s no shame whatsoever in getting a guide to help you. Taking a test involves certain principles and techniques that can increase your chances of doing well even without increasing your knowledge!
- Remember to get a good night’s sleep and to eat well before taking any test. You can’t concentrate on the problems if you’re concentrating on your bed or your stomach! And your brain needs fuel.
- The SAT is long and boring, but there’s no law against taking the test more than once. Use multiple opportunities to improve your score. It will be difficult, but you’ll thank yourself when they’re finally all over!
Remember that you can do better if you push yourself. If anything, a trend is an opportunity to show defiance. Beat them and save your scores!