Wait, let me check the answer key. I’m the teacher see, so I always have the answers. And thus begins my tour through the stages of SAT grief.
Denial: It says “A”. There’s no way that it’s A. It can’t be A. I’ve done this problem 3 times and gotten C every time. No way.
Anger: This is absurd. I haven’t been this mad since they cancelled Arrested Development and then brought it back and it wasn’t as good because they couldn’t get all the actors together at once. Whoever wrote this test has some serious answering to do. And I promise you the answer won’t be A.
Bargaining: I promise I will never make my child take this, or any other test. She will grow up never knowing that tests exist. This is my solemn oath.
Depression: What am I doing with my life? If I can’t answer a simple #3 Math question then what gives me the right to teach anyone anything ever? I’m a sham. I should just check Craig’s List for a data entry clerk job. But I’d probably just mess that up too. Hey where’d that box of Oreos go? Oh right. Into my tummy.
Acceptance: Oh…wait. When it says three sided…ohhhhhhhhhhhh. I read it wrong. I can’t believe I read it wrong. It’s A. The answer is totally A.
Yes, I struggled through an easy Math question while taking the Assessment. Yes, I totally messed up my timing and had to rush through the rest of the section. Yes, I’m supposed to be the best at this. So why am I admitting that I had a hard time with one of the easiest questions on the test? Because even though I am a self-proclaimed SAT Superhero, I’m still a human being. I’m more like Batman than like Superman in that way. And this test is tricky. So tricky that it can trick even the most experienced of test takers. Also I got it and most of the other questions right so it’s all good.
The point is this: I get it. I get why it’s so frustrating to know for a fact that you are good at Math. That you are good at English in school. That you have aced every test you’ve ever taken. And yet, THIS test. THIS one you can’t seem to wrap your mind around. I know. But I also know that struggling through one question doesn’t mean you can’t beat the test. I know that even the best math students I’ve ever worked with have gotten the easiest math questions wrong because they fell right into the traps set by ETS.
It’s ok. The important thing, as always, is to learn from those mistakes. I will never get a question like #3 wrong again. And neither will you.