Sunday, June 2, 2013


For most high-school students, the SAT is a source of anxiety, distress, and trepidation.  For me, it’s just damn obnoxious.  Due to its questionable theory and lackluster composition, the scholastic aptitude test feels more like an exercise in stupidity than a true measure of one’s logical intellect and grasp of English.  Nevertheless, the quest for college credit and a useless degree that no longer guarantees a real job continues to drive millions of young adults like myself to jump through hoops and subject themselves to a torturous and utterly insulting examination.

The first issue poisoning the SAT is the excruciating process of qualifying for it.  In order to take the test one already paid $50 for, one must present a valid I.D. that’s subject to numerous arbitrary and constantly fluctuating standards which are supposed to block cheaters but really just punish law-abiding, homeschooled citizens.  In effect, SAT security measures are no more than a form of discrimination against kids who don’t attend government skrools.  The first time I attempted to take the test, the administrators turned me away because my multiple photo I.D.s, signatures, and other personal details were considered insufficient without the approval of a public official.  In addition, the test board took concern that my photo was taped onto my I.D. form, rather than glued to or printed on the sheet.  I wish I could say this fiasco is exclusive to California commies, but the problem persists nationwide on account of mass hysteria over test cheating.  Just as the adversaries of gun rights demand extreme and unjust measures in the wake of rare and isolated tragedies, so too do College Board directors overreact and resort to unnecessary extremes to prevent future cheating.  Both these tactics ultimately punish the innocent for the wrongs of the guilty, and neither can effectively deter the unlawful.

If one does manage to actually take the test, he’ll be challenged to complete such Herculean labors as correcting 3rd grade grammar errors, reading glowing articles about various Democrat causes, and writing a compelling essay in 25 minutes.  OK, that last one wasn’t really sarcastic; while impromptu is mostly doable in a speech format, it’s a downright stupid idea in a writing context.  Rather than encouraging students to write an eloquent, interesting, and provocative piece in an hour or thereabouts, the SAT places the emphasis on speed and exhorts high schoolers to throw together a intro-anecdote-conclusion messay that hopefully fits the topic.  The test writers seem to acknowledge that 3-paragraph essays are really dumb, as the vast majority of prompts are suitably idiotic and frequently entail false dichotomies.  E.g., “Is it a disadvantage to pay attention to details?”  Yes and no - what’s the context?  “‘Failure is impossible.’ – Susan B. Anthony.           Is it really impossible to fail?  Are some failures simply unsuccessful attempts to accomplish what we set out to do, or do all failures ultimately provide some benefit, even if we can’t see it right away?”  Am I supposed to attach credence to this gibberish because it has a 3 word quote from Susan B. Anthony?  “Do you believe that fantasy or imagination is more important than knowledge?”  Do you believe that Aliens is a better movie than Alien? Can’t you watch both of them?

Although the essay’s final grade is the most obviously subjective component of the SAT, one could argue that up to half of the essay’s questions are completely relative and have multiple “right answers”.  For example, many of the writing/grammar questions force the student to select one of several awkwardly phrased sentences, one of which the writers deemed less awkward than the rest.  More often the test requires one to choose between grammatical error and unnecessary wordiness or structural clumsiness.  The writing sections usually conclude by having one analyze a poorly written passage and point out what its overall focus is or what the author should have added to his article.  Not only is this exercise completely unrelated to English and writing, but it’s unavoidably subjective as well: ought the writer to give a neutral, balanced report on global warming climate change, or should he just drone on about Hurricane-wannabe Sandy and the Maldives ad nauseum?  More on climate warming later…  The critical reading sections are perhaps even more subjective than the writing ones.  When asked to choose the best word to fit in a certain sentence, the student often gets torn between two that would function equally well.  On many occasions the test solicits the student to interpret an author’s writing by picking one of several answers that look incredibly similar and could be true simultaneously.  “In teaching himself how to read and write, Fredrick Douglass states that he was a) proving his master’s apprehensions to be true, b) acquiring awareness of his own servitude, c) becoming more knowledgable, or d) learning to hate the institution of slavery?”  Do questions like this make you a) frustrated, b) confused, or c) angry?

The SAT also prides itself on being the most partisan quiz in the nation.  Without exceptions, every test includes at least one article about men destroying the earth, men oppressing women, or men bullying other men.  Among the writers’ favorite subjects are melting icecaps, endangered fish, miserable employment conditions in pre-union Industrial America, women getting the vote, discrimination against working women, etc.  Don’t expect to read critical invectives of fascism, socialism, totalitarianism, or any of the left-wing isms; the SAT is so prepossessed with bashing capitalism that it can’t spare even a moment to praise, nay mention, liberal models of government.  When the SAT isn’t complaining about income disparity or environmental destruction, it’s usually covering such important and captivating topics as language acquisition for babies, animal communication as opposed to human language (spoiler – they’re the same, for men and monkeys are equally intelligent), art restoration, the mental process behind reading, the science of writer’s block, and much more useless, taxpayer-funded information obtained by federal grants.

The Solvency-Advocate-Turd smears its participants’ integrity, insults their intelligence, and inures them to Ingsoc.  In short, it instigates insanity, and for that reason, I stand firmly resolved that the U.S.C.B. should substantially reform its testing policies.

Addendum based on yesterday's experience
* Test administrators must take greater efforts to prevent abject morons who keep time with a clock from supervising test consumers.  I had appropriately managed my time for the 1st section using a stopwatch so as to allow myself one minute to write a concluding sentence to my 6 star paper; unfortunately, like the U.N.S.C Forward Unto Dawn, my grand closer was shorn in two with 40 seconds remaining by the public school idiot monitoring my room, who lacked the good sense to use a real timer with an alarm instead of a wall clock.  To think that my parents paid $75 for such customer service.  More disturbingly, to think that these people are teachers...
* "No, my identity has not changed since I last left the room 3 minutes ago on a bathroom break.  Are you trying to be funny, or do you just think I'm stupid?"
* "Copy (do not print) the following statement that you will withhold from speaking of this test's contents to anybody."  Has some scientific study shown teenagers are less likely to break an oath written in cursive?  Is there any empirical solvency whatsoever for pretentiously bossing total strangers, let alone your own customers and someone else's kids, around?  Here's an example of empirical failure, dated June 1st, 2013: "Can the study of pop culture be as valuable as study of traditional literary or historical subjects?"
* What do you get when you rearrange S-A-T?

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