File image

Maggie Marks, SMDP Intern

Preparing for college is one of the most mentally taxing times for young students and one of the application milestones, the always stressful SAT test, was postponed for Samohi students this month. However, for those who plan to take the exam, the delay has proven more useful than stressful.

Initially scheduled for March 1, Samohi’s grade wide SAT for juniors was postponed to March 22 due to “unforeseen circumstances that have arisen,” according to school officials.

“An error caused a delay resulting in the inability for Samohi to receive SAT testing materials in time for the March 1 date.” said SMMUSD Spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.

At Samohi, all students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade start to test their knowledge with a PSAT. While very similar material-wise to the SAT, the PSAT doesn’t include an essay and is scored on a different scale. Typically, all juniors in high school then plan for the standardized test administered by College Board as it has become a means for colleges to determine how prepared a student is for their impending future.

While the SAT has had a long history as a college acceptance tool, in recent years, this test has become more and more obsolete. In 2015, Forbes published that more than 80% of four-year colleges don’t require standardized testing results by the Fall 2023 application season.

While there are very mixed views on the importance of the SAT, it is still advocated for in schools. In 20 states across the nation, the SAT is given for high school juniors for free. The purpose of this is to make it easier for those who were already planning on taking it, give incentive for those who weren’t planning on taking it, or make it accessible for those who don’t have the resources.

“The benefit has always been that not every student can pay the fifty to sixty dollars now to take the test and even though there are fee waivers there are some students who maybe on a Saturday can’t take the test,” said Rosa Mejia, a Samohi College Counselor. “There are other parts of our county, our city, our state, our country where the community maybe just isn’t as aware of college entrance requirements therefore if their school doesn’t offer the SAT or ACT that student may never take it,” she said.

For many students at Samohi, the changing of the SAT date hasn’t altered their study plans.

“I am planning on taking the SAT, but the changing of the date hasn’t changed anything for me. I was always planning on taking it as a baseline then practicing for it outside of school, so it is neutral for me,” said Justin Green, a Samohi junior.

The SAT is not something that you should go into blindly. For most students, it requires countless hours of preparation not only to understand the content, but to learn how to interpret the test and do so in a timely manner. The moving of the date has helped many students cram in some extra study hours.

“I’m glad that they changed it to later so I have more time to study because I haven’t started. I’ve been really busy so it’s good that they moved it and I’m glad that they are still making us take it because even if you don’t do well you don’t have to report it but if you do well it looks good – and it’s free,” said Zinnia Weybright, a Samohi junior earlier in the month.

Other students have also reaped the same benefits as Weybright.

“The moving of the date totally plays in my favor because I am feeling less stressed about it because I have more time and for me it’s easier to get something to stick in my head if I work at it each day instead of cramming it all at the same time,” said Sasha Tan, a Samohi Junior.

In the past, the SAT was required for college applications but with its waning importance, the amount of effort and preparation students put in varies.

“Students now have the flexibility and are able to make the decision whether or not they want to take the test. If they choose to take it, the common practice has been spring semester of Junior year, potentially fall of Senior year, but it’s very dependent on each student,” said Mejia.