By diving into the world of SAT prep students can learn the ins and outs of the standardized test

Els Krimsky, Staff Writer

Since its origin in 1926, high school students planning to attend college in the United States have struggled with scoring well on the SAT, known fully as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Even though the SAT has changed in format, length, and rules multiple times in its almost century-long existence, the standardized test is still dreaded among students, despite the efforts to make it more digestible.
However, students and educators have shown excitement over the recently announced updated version of the exam. The College Board, the distributor of the test, released information on the updated SAT on January 25, 2022; however it will not be available to take until 2024.
Changes will include moving from paper to digital tests, reducing the time from three hours to two, permitting calculators on all math sections, and shortening the length of passages found in the reading section.
These changes are largely due to the majority of colleges and universities becoming test-optional over the past two years. The goal is to design the SAT to be less stressful and more appealing so students will continue taking it despite not being a requirement for many American colleges.
However, students who decide to take the exam in 2022 or 2023 will have to navigate the test as it is; three hours long, all on paper with more material to cover.
Despite its difficult and irritating nature, a strong SAT (or any standardized test) score is an excellent addition to any college application. It bulks up your transcript, makes up for possible disturbances in grades, and shows schools you are willing to commit time and effort to increase your chances of success.
Strong scores do not come easy to most, even if you are a good test-taker or are enrolled in high-level classes. Initially, the SAT feels like being tested on mostly niche and unhelpful material. However, the more you prepare, the goal of the SAT becomes clear: to determine to the degree to which students can quickly retain any kind of information and use it correctly.
The creators of the SAT do not expect students to know the complex genetics behind a certain disease or what an American politician from the 1700s meant in an out-of-context speech. Rather, the goal is for students to consume and apply information to problems quickly.
Unfortunately, the best method of increasing a score is to practice over long periods of time. This applies to all sections of the SAT — for test takers will over time become more familiar with formatting and identifying types of questions and the responses the test is looking for.
While it is easy to see progress in the reading sections of the SAT through this method, math sections may require you to learn some information through school or on your own in order to master these problems.
There are many websites and companies which offer SAT tutoring in-person, remotely, or completely independently. Well-known SAT tutoring companies around Harford County include Omnitest and Capital Educators. The College Board and Khan Academy websites also offer free resources to students to help prep for the SAT.