The state of the SAT


I got a job tutoring the SAT last year a couple months before corona happened. I was one of the newest hires and only tutored once a week even before they went remote, so naturally I lost that position due to the pandemic lol. Not like I wanted to work there anyway. All you really do is help explain wrong answers on practice tests to three students at a time. Just basically guiding them through a workbook week by week. And that is really the only way to get better at the test–to keep taking it. Read your wrong answers. Then just keep taking it. It sucks.

I never even took the SAT myself. Yes I teach university writing. No I never took that entry exam. I went straight to county college back then. Never even glanced at over at the SAT until I was trying to get that job back in December, and I immediately hated it. I had to take the exam twice to get a good score. And the second essay I wrote for them was still only average to their measurements. Working there wasn’t totally horrible tho. The students wanted to be there because they wanted to go to college. It also kinda helped me understand my own freshman students a little more.

Part of why numbers dropped for SAT tutoring at that time is because people haven’t had access to testing centers. More and more colleges also basically had to stop requiring it for incoming students, with some making that a seemingly permanent decision. I hope to see the whole standardized testing industry can faze out and get abolished. Too many people come to my classes every year saying they loved reading and writing until high school. That’s where they mark language arts turning into a test with no soul.

-Rachel Wagner 2020

Other pieces I wrote on this topic: “Needed: More Reading in First-Year Writing” & “What I’m Reading: ‘Book Breaking and Book Mending'”


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