Monday, March 06, 2006

SAT: Again, Fuck It

I posted this as a comment, on an MITblog. If you're interested, enjoy.

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I asked my interviewer about SAT scores. She said that the admissions at MIT primarily use it as a check... if you have shinning recommendations, perfect grades, beautiful essays, and a 900 on the SAT, they're going to look twice at your records. She mentioned that my score, 1940 on the new one--1300 discounting writing, would not hurt me.

The SAT is a worthless test. How one comes to a conclusion is far more important than the conclusion; the path gives the destination validity. The SAT completely ignores that philosophy, and reality, completely; the entire thing is crap, and it should not be feared.

Take, for example, the SAT writing section. I'm probably going to spend more than 20 minutes writing this response--and it is typed--how can they expect someone to write a structured essay in 20 minutes on a topic they've been given no time to even think about? The only ability the SAT writing tests analyze is the ability to bullshit, and that will never replace solid ideas and decent planning. I would like to know if those ignorant fascists at the College Board have written a college level essay in the last 10 years and even remember how to do it or how long it took them.

Then there's the SAT verbal section. Of course, being able to read is important but, once again, is being able to read FASSSSSSST important? I can read something I'm interested in and comprehend it well, and I can scan something that only slightly grabs my interest, but I can't stand the boring tangents that the test succumbs to. In addition, what if someone is lucky enough to have prior knowledge on one of the presented stories?

The math section seems the least likely to be biased in anyway or have any flaws. After all, it's not subjective, there is one numeric answer, and mathematics is pleasantly bland enough to be universal. However, to cite an anecdote, mathematics is not just about one numeric answer. During my first semester of Calculus, I spent about ten minutes solving a series problem the "brute force" way. In the midst of my solution, I forgot to distribute a negative, which threw off my entire response. When grading the tests, I mentioned the error, and my professor laughed and said to take off a point. Now, if this had been the SAT, I would have lost all credit for my answer, despite that I know how to compute a series. In fact, on the report I eventually would recieve from the College Board, it would says that I couldn't do whatever Geometry/Algebra I/Algebra II despite that I may have made a simple arithmetic error.

Because of one of those, a little swap of numbers, I came steaming out of the SAT II. Looking back at the problem, I had made a computational error--swapped a number from an earlier step with the one I was working on, probably due to moderate dyslexia, from which I suffer. Nevertheless, the question was geometry related, and now the SAT II Math Level 1 claims that I am not capable of manipulating trigonometric functions.

As fast as my world flies by, it takes sixty minutes for my heart to pulse. How am I supposed to demonstrate that I am, in fact, good at math in that time?

The SAT is worthless. It's a shame that we have to worry about our SAT scores, but don't ever take them personally. For your worth as a human being, as someone awesome, it doesn't make a difference. You won't get anything because you have a good SAT score, you get things because you do things with the mind you have. Anyone who flaunts a score should be kicked in the balls and have their score branded onto their forehead; they deserve the pain and the ridicule.

Breathe, think, listen. Respond, always respond. Never shut up.

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