Before you check the College Board for your SAT scores
The day you get your SAT scores is like Christmas morning, if Christmas at your house was that morning when you expected something great and instead got a used VHS copy of the John Travolta movie Phenomenon.
If you do poorly on the SAT, received wisdom says, you will never succeed. No matter where you go, people will judge you. When (if) you get to college, your roommates will form the "2,400 Club" and have loud meetings late at night where they laugh about how easy it is for them to solve simple trigonometry problems and comprehend passages that they have read. Think I'm joking? Just look at Pat Robertson! After scoring what he did on the SATs, Pat Robertson's only option was to form the 700 Club, publicize it, and hope for the best!
By the time your high school class tries online dating, the sites will probably ask you for your SAT score. It'll be like Gattaca, except instead of selecting for characteristics like "beauty" and "not being susceptible to heart disease," they'll select for characteristics like "not beauty" and "the ability to write essays with five-paragraph structure." But, then again, they also ask you for an accurate, recent picture in which you are fully clothed, and who complies with that?
But if it didn't go so well this time, forget SAT prep! SAT prep is like sex education; it doesn't make you any better at it.
If you did poorly, don't bother retaking! Leave school and go work on an organic farm that gives hope to under-fathered children. If anyone there asks what you got on the SAT, tell them, then add that you always switch your SAT score with your IQ, because "that's what you do when you're a 200." Explain that, once you get smart enough, you "come back around to the other side, like Siddhartha did." If this doesn't work, you can always put this experience on your college application! If they have a "free spirit" quota, you'll be in luck.
If your "parents" are insisting you retake the test, because they've invested a lot of money in you and don't want another investment to suddenly, without warning, lose all its value like their house did in 2008, here are a few SAT-taking tips for next time!
- When you're in the part of the reading section that asks you to pick the word that doesn't belong, just pick the word you'd be least comfortable bringing to dinner with your conservative parents.
- Try to put yourself in the mind of the person who wrote the test. Did he have a happy family life? What kind of motivations do you think he ascribes to that Uncle Watson guy in the reading passage?
- Try reading the passages aloud to yourself. If the person next to you objects, accuse him of listening to your thoughts.
- For the writing section, you literally cannot fail if you write a five paragraph essay that references the life of Dr. Martin Luther King at least once.
- Seriously, there is no context in which referencing Dr. King will not be appropriate. This is actually good advice. I took the SAT eight times, and every single time, I referenced Dr. King. Admittedly, this was a little weird on the SAT 2 for Biology, but I made it work! You have to commit.
- If you sense things are going badly, pick letters that offer excuses as to why you did so poorly: "BAD DAD; ADD; BAD AC" You can also just fill in all the test bubbles with D's. Most of the time, this will only be 25 percent right, but you might luck out and get the one grader who really likes D's!
- Fill in the bubbles in a shape that resembles Jesus. When you're finished, raise your hand and explain that you can't stay any longer, because He is Here! Rush out, speaking in tongues.
- Pretend the person next to you is going into cardiac arrest, and you have to save him through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. (It helps if the other person is in on this, but it's not strictly essential.)
- Try to appeal to the test-grading machine's sensibilities by listing its favorite types of power -- AC, DC, AA.
- Amuse yourself by making your test paper pretend to be a sheep! BAAA BAA BAAAAA BAA. If the test-taker gets this, he'll laugh along! Maybe you'll get a 300!
Remember, no matter how badly you do, you'll still be able to run for political office.
| October 28, 2010; 1:42 PM ET
Categories: Bad Advice, Petri | Tags: SAT scores
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