...In which Jay addresses common SAT myths.
It may well be true that you have an inflated sense of your own intelligence, but the SAT is not evidence of such. The SAT is not now, nor has it ever been, a measure of your intelligence. That’s what IQ tests are. It is also not a test of how well you do in school. That’s what tests you take in school are for. It is, ostensibly, a test of your ability to reason. Ironic, considering how unreasonable a test it is. Simply put, the SAT is a test of good you are at taking the SAT. End of story.
“My mom’s cousin’s best friend took the test and said that he just picked (C) whenever he didn’t know the answer and got most of them right.”
Your mom’s cousin’s best friend is a dirty liar. The notion that (C) is correct any more frequently than any other answer choice is one that dates back to ancient times. It was nonsense then, and it remains nonsense now. Answer (C) will absolutely be right about 20% of the time. As will (A), (B), (D), and (E). Trying to use the frequency of answer choices appearing in order to answer questions is a fool’s errand. And, much like Mr. T, I pity the fool.
“My down the street neighbor told me that the November (or any other) SAT is the easiest one. Should I just wait to take it then?”
The notion that one administration of the test is easier than another is very common, and very wrong. The most frequent reasoning I’ve heard for this theory is that more students who performed poorly are re-taking the test for the last time in October, so more students are getting questions wrong, so the curve is easier. Also, there are fewer test takers overall at certain administrations of the test. In truth, there is pretty much no link whatsoever between test date and difficulty of the test. If you take the test enough times, you will come to realize that it’s pretty much the same thing. Every. Single. Time.
“My Aunt’s sister’s kid got a 2100 and I only got a 2090. That kid is so getting into a better school than I am, right?”
Wait, your Aunt’s sister? Isn’t that your mom?
“No, her other sister.”
Oh, my bad. Either way, her kid’s 2100 is, statistically speaking, identical to your 2090. I defy you to find me an admissions counselor who would treat a 2100 differently than a 2090. A ten point difference could simply be the result of the curve. If you took the test on two different dates, you may actually have answered more questions correctly than your Aunt’s kid. Admissions counselors know this. So relax. You can still show your face at the family picnics.