Does Preparing for the SAT Really Matter?


Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

The SAT currently costs $52 for the standard SAT test and $68 with the optional SAT essay section.

Payton Tanner, Staff Writer

Throughout the years, the SAT has continued to evolve with new versions of the test each year. Students also continue evolving with the SAT by developing different studying strategies. At Dakota Ridge High School, sitting for the SAT is a graduation requirement, but with many colleges not even looking at SAT scores anymore, many students wonder why they still have to take the test and if getting a good score would even be worth it.

Preparing for the SAT has become a business of its own with many online and in-person studying resources popping up. This includes local tutoring services like Sylvan Learning of Littleton, Mathnasium, College Drive and numerous others. There is also a plethora of online resources including College Board , Khan Academy, and Kaplan SAT Practice Question of the Day.

“My school has prepared me and my classmates for the SAT by having us take the practice SAT in the middle of the year, and many of my teachers have given us certain assignments in classes throughout the year to prepare us for the test,” sophomore Carlyn Alexander said.

More than 1,775 U.S. colleges and universities are test optional or test blind this year. (Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash)

The SAT has become well known as one of the most important tests you take in high school, but with so many changes surrounding the SAT, will this test be as important in a few years? Some people feel as though their intelligence and opportunities to go to college should not be tied up in one test. 

“SATs are just very stressful for a lot of people, so I think people start to second guess themselves and overthink it. So it shouldn’t be a baseline of, like, this is how smart you are…especially since a lot of people have talents that lie outside of the academic world,” sophomore Sara Pfitzer said.

According to The University Star, test anxiety affects 10 to 40 percent of students, and statistics show that this anxiety increases when it comes to standardized testing. 

“I think colleges should have the power and ability to choose whether they want to be test optional or not depending on what they want in their student body and the requirements they would like to place on the students who apply to their school,” Nayomi Johnson (10) said. 

According to Inside Higher ED,  a list published by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing proves that more than 75% of colleges are not requiring the SAT or ACT for admission into their schools. Many Colorado schools do not include SAT as a requirement, including Colorado College, Regis University, University of Denver, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado School of Mines, and others across the nation.

To address some of the inequities surrounding the SAT that caused many colleges to stop looking at scores, College Board has recently announced changes to the exam in an attempt to resolve some of those inequities. The SAT will be taken solely online, and the test time will shrink from three hours to two hours. These changes will take effect at international test sites next year and domestic test sites by spring 2024.  College Board also plans to offer many different solutions for low income families who don’t have access to the technology they need to take the test. 

Despite many colleges not looking at the SAT, or not requiring the test to be taken in Jeffco Public School District, sitting for the SAT remains a graduation requirement. So, for the time being, the SAT will still have an effect on students’ lives.