Selling my Soul to College Board: SAT Edition

Taking the SAT is a stressful process, with many bumps in the road. It takes stamina, patience and above all hard work to do the best that you can do. Despite any challenges that you may face, you are not alone!


Sabrina Portnoy, Bear Hub Staff

This summer for 8 weeks straight, for 6+ hours each day I studied for the SAT. Was it crazy of me to do? Yes; however, I knew it would be all worth it on August 26th when I was supposed to take the SAT, get my goal score, and never worry about it again. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Two weeks before my scheduled test date I was informed that my testing center had too many people signed up and not enough seats for everyone due to the new COVID regulations. I was one of the unlucky few that got kicked out of the room due to the lack of seats, meaning I could no longer take the test I had wasted my whole summer studying for.

Kelly Tang, 11, smiles because she can now recycle all of these SAT prep books she used to study over the summer.

To say the least, I was devastated and angry. How could something like this happen? I remember being frantic, not knowing what to do next, however, I calmed down and decided that I would sign up for the next available test date which was in September.
I continued to study throughout the month only for my test to be cancelled again; 2 weeks after I signed up to take it 3 hours away in a different state. A few weeks after deciding that I no longer had the energy to study or stress about the test, I thought that the best thing to do was just to sign up a third time. So now I anxiously wait until December so that this three part saga can finally come to a close.

Ananya Chadrasekhar,11, holds an SAT prep book above the trash as a sign of defeat. She believes that it is the book’s rightful home and the stress it has brought her has constituted this maltreatment.

Although my SAT story was a nightmare, I am not the only student experiencing the SAT stress. In a sense, this test is like a birthright for Juniors and the stress that accompanies it does not fail to make its presence known before, during and after students take the test. When I asked how EBHS students felt about taking the SAT, there was a key word used in every response – “stressed.”

“First of all, the SAT is inherently stressful because it directly impacts your life. On top of that, the test centers become really full really quickly and now you’re stressed while having to drive an hour away. On top of that, some test centers close without warning. So now you are stressed, and you don’t have a test date.”

— Ananya Chadrasekhar,11

“Honestly I’m just stressed about the Covid-19 aspect of everything like the extra time it’s going to take to check fevers and having to wear a mask while testing for 3 or more hours straight. I’m also stressed about my admission ticket because I don’t know if my picture is good enough or if it’s too dark but I can’t change it now.”

— Alefiya Presswala, 11

“It was so stressful like literally no one tells you what to do and the college board is so confusing to get around. I was so worried that I was doing something wrong and that they were gonna fine me for doing something I didn’t know how to do.”

— Jillian Taormina, 11

“The only thing that stressed me out was the studying process and the usual nerves before taking the test. I got the date I wanted and am just hoping that I can get the score I want and leave.”

— Kelly Tang, 11

While Junior year and specifically taking the SAT is stressful, there are some things you can do to diminish your own stress. Alex Like, 12, recommends devoting less time “to taking practice tests” and more time to “actually reviewing what you are getting wrong.” The test still remains a stressful, annoying, and treacherous obstacle for me and many other Juniors, however, we will all get through this together. Especially during such unprecedented times it may seem as though everything is up in the air and while it is good to stress and make sure you are performing to your best ability, it is best to focus on the aspects of the SAT you can actually control. Find reassurance in the fact that you are not alone and many others are feeling the same way you do. Good luck to everyone!