Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter

    Hi, I would love to hear opinions on this. I posted this on another forum but I got only negative and biased responses. I'm really curious to hear mature and objective views, so I'm hoping this place is more open than college confidential.

    Here goes:
    Anyone here agree that you are not given enough time to complete the SAT?

    My take on this is that the SAT/ACT are just a way to milk money. They found a good marketing strategy. So how do they do it? SAT basically lures you in with relatively easy-medium level difficulty, but an unfair amount of time. The reason many students choose SAT is because they are attracted to the low difficulty compared to other tests. This brings them confidence and psychological comfort. If they made the subject tests too hard, no one would be drawn to them. Students would feel discouraged from the start and not even attempt to take it. But by flaunting easy subjects, they give hope; they make people think they have a chance to score really high very easily, which couldn't be further from the truth. After all, no one is drawn to a test because of the time. The thing that stands out is the content. It also makes sense to have SAT organized several times a year during consecutive months with those specific dates - if you get a low score (which you definitely will), you can take it again! So convenient, isn't it? Also, they get more money the more attempts you take. But of course, that's so not their purpose.
    Now about those dates - think about it. You get tested at the start of each month and you only get the results after a month and A HALF. Not enough time to check your results and decide if you want to go for another. You're forced to just go ahead and register for another SAT before knowing your score in case you are doubting your results too much. Not to mention you don't even have much time to decide since the testing day is usually around the registration deadline for the next month's test. Yet again, quite convenient, isn't it?

    Any qualified teacher/psychologist/researcher/scientist in the field would tell you that the time allotted is not proportional to the difficulty/complexity of the subjects. In my opinion, and in many others' as well I think, speed of perception or problem solving is not what makes a person intelligent and overall productive. And if colleges/universities are looking for this specific trait in students, it shouldn't be administered by a test that is meant to reflect intelligence and general performance, since these two don't go hand in hand. Problem-solving speed and intelligence are not mutually exclusive but they're not dependent on one another either. So if universities want to find people with performance speed, they should require a specific test. If they want students with overall solid performance and intelligence, they should go for a general test - which is what SAT is supposed to be. And if they want both, they should require another specialized test.
    It makes absolutely no sense to blend all requirements into one test just for the sake of "top universities wanting to distinguish students who can solve things fast" as I've read on some threads on collegeconfidential as an argument to the time limit. It's like saying you are altering a test in order to cater to the needs of a niche part of the world. Top universities represent a very very low percentage. Making a test that is basically specialized for their needs only and tagging it as a general test is not only illegal, but nonsensical.
    It also has no logical basis to say that "no one expects you to score high" and "universities other than Harvard will accept lower scores" because it is in fact wrong. I personally applied to a university in UK that required quite a high score and it wasn't a top uni, but no way near bottom either. It was among the best ones in UK but not Harvard or Oxford level. According to comments like the ones mentioned above, you would deduce that all other great universities that just aren't niche will accept low(er) scores. This is definitely not true. In order to verify this, I compared the entry requirements of top, great and average UK and US universities, for US, UK and other international qualifications, to see if they correlate. And it resulted in a clear discrepancy when it came to the US qualifications, which proves people consider the SAT a general test, not a specialized performance speed test, and thus they demand scores based on that criteria, which cannot be determined from the SAT.
    Here are some of my findings for Physics course for example:
    Oxford - top
    UK requirements: A*AA
    European Baccalaureate: 85%
    US requirements: 2100 (1400 new SAT)

    Harvard - top
    US: 2260 (1510)

    King's College - great
    UK: AAA - A*AB
    European: 80%
    US: 1900 - 1950 (1270 - 1300 new sat)

    Sheffield - average
    UK: AAB
    European: 80%
    US: 1800 (1200 new sat)

    If SAT was in fact a general performance test, then the above requirements would be fair and accurate, but given the fact SAT is created in such a way that it does not test you like other exams, in terms of general performance, but instead based on speed, then it makes no sense to judge its scores like you would others. This shows international universities and perhaps even US ones, do not judge accurately as they are unaware of these details. Thus this unfairness affects the future of students and it shouldn't be taken lightly thinking "average or lower than top unis will accept low scores" since it is clearly not the case. They are blatantly unaware of the true meaning of SAT and they just determine the requirements based on a standard set of testing methodology.

    Here are some facts about the results of the SAT to back up my claims:

    Let's take 2000+ (or 1330+ new sat) to represent great/borderline good score. I'll take one table of SAT results at random. Let's consider the 2014 scores. Of ALL test takers, only about 7% obtained a score of 2000+ and only 0.03% a perfect score. To put things in perspective, that is like 7 out of 100 people and 3 in 10000 people respectively.
    Let's even consider the average range. Take 1500-1800 (1000-1200 new sat) to be average. According to the same table, 30% of the test takers got an average score. This results in the majority of the test takers acquiring a below average score.
    The fact the time limit is not impossible I'm well aware of. It's not impossible for a man to set foot on the moon either or for one to survive a dangerous fall, however the percentages dictate the rarity of the event happening and a good general test score being a rarity should ring alarm bells to officials as there is clearly something wrong with it. Or most people are just complete idiots... one of the two. I'm inclined to believe the more probable option, which is the first one. A good score on a general achievement/performance test shouldn't be nearly impossible to get. This was my main point. If you consider the SAT a specialized processing and problem solving speed test, then the scores and design would match. But as it is defined now, the SAT is not living up to its expectations and claims.

    My proposed solution:
    SAT would be greatly improved by increasing the time allotted. For example instead of 25 minutes for 20 maths questions, get double. Instead of 65 minutes for 52 English questions, get double or at least 150%. Either that or if their problem is keeping students in a test centre for too long in one day, then split the test in two days. Or create more difficult questions and reduce their number, so the time doesn't have to be increased. Tons of solutions could be applied to improve the SAT in my opinion.
    I had been doing lessons in preparation for the SAT with a Maths tutor that has 10+ years of experience and she said she doubts even she, as a teacher, would be able to complete the test in time even though she understands each problem right away and knows how to solve. She said given the calculations you have to do it's too hard to be given such a limit because you won't even have the time to literally do the math of the problem, even if you know it.

    My core idea was that (from my understanding) the SAT is set to have a certain purpose which it fails to accomplish due to the test design. And I asked if others felt this way too. I think given the fact that SAT is meant to prove general performance in order to be admitted to college/university, its design is not in accordance with this set purpose. The time does not match the length and difficulty of the questions imo. To be clear... when I say design of test I mean the way it is composed. Aka the number of questions given + the time limit + the difficulty. I think those components aren't blended well for the type of test SAT is supposed to represent.

    I can post the link to the original post if you want to see replies too.
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course


    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.