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Staring down the SAT


We're more than a number

On Saturday at 7:45 in the morning, hundreds of thousands of high school students across the country will stumble through the doors of a school.

Some will be bleary-eyed and grumpy — others will be wide-awake with worry.Anisha Adke

Some will feel cheated, having lost a morning they could sleep in — others’ brains will be teeming with vocabulary and algebra rules. For many, it will be a mixture of both.

However, all of the students will have the same fate: a throbbing headache at the end of four hours and their heads ringing with the same questions. Is my intelligence really going to be judged by that? Not knowing the meaning of quixotic might damage my chances at my dream college?

The SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is an examination that almost every student dreads. It is yet another way of judging one’s abilities in the core subjects that are already stressed in the K-12 system. However, there is so much more to a person’s intellect than critical reading, math and writing skills. Unfortunately, colleges depend on the SAT and its ability to effectively stratify students’ abilities to aid in admissions decisions. Therefore, we, high school students, are subjected to its power and that of its equally evil twin, the ACT.

I’m not saying the SAT and the ACT, originally called American College Testing, are completely useless. They are both very effective mental obstacle courses. Do this many problems in this many minutes, we are told, and try not to fall into the traps along the way. The SAT can judge how fast we can figure out how many different combinations of shoes and sweaters Billy can wear, or if we can read a mind-numbingly dull passage and correctly respond to nitpicky questions. It can accurately judge our ability to focus, read, use proper grammar and write five-paragraph essays. This, to some degree, means something. But, it is definitely not everything.

In psychology class, we took multiple-intelligence tests to learn about the different aspects of our mental capacity. Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Howard Gardner, who earned a doctorate in social psychology from Harvard University, has identified several types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist.

Though I laughed at the results of my test and shrugged them off, I realized that they were just as truthful, if not more so, than the number the SAT will pin on me in several weeks. Maybe if colleges were to adopt an equally long, equally torturous multiple-intelligence test for college admissions, it would serve to give students a better understanding of where they belong. Students could find a good college fit based on their strengths in every aspect of life, not just on linguistics and logic. The results would be true to who they are.

Gardner theorized that the emphasis on traditional measurements of intelligence from kindergarten to 12th grade has lifelong negative impacts. Students make life decisions based off of such judgments such as GPA and SAT scores. As we go on through our school years, these numbers begin to define us in the academic world and compare us to our peers. From these comparisons, many develop mentalities on what they can and cannot do.

I admit that I am just a disgruntled high schooler who does not want to wake up early on Saturday to fill in scads of little bubbles. I admit that I am tired of the stress that comes with standardized tests and the emphasis that so many people seem to place on them. Yet, there truly is more to a person’s wisdom than an SAT or ACT score — and that needs to be widely recognized.

Anisha Adke is a senior at Lakeridge High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..