Looming college applications come with a long list of requirements. Students attempt a balancing act as they prepare for their future while simultaneously performing in the present. The extracurricular commitments of ISKL students add to the difficulty of setting time aside to think about what needs to get done. For students applying to the United States, standardised testing is yet another obstacle.
Seniors, in particular, have been rushing to get their test scores submitted as a significant part of their application. Many selective schools are looking for high scores as a qualifier for acceptance into their programs. Needless to say, this has some weight.
Some seniors are doing their first SAT this week in the middle of a hectic academic year. Aman ‘18 outlines his study techniques for the test, ‘a month in advance I will probably do three days a week around 30 minutes a day but as it gets closer, like last week, I started studying a lot more, so like an hour a day for the next two weeks.’ While preparing for a test is not usually a month-long commitment, standardized tests are different. They rely on aptitude rather than studied knowledge, therefore there is no short-term formula for success on the exam. Instead, people attempt to use online resources or past exams to get a feel for the material.
‘I haven’t been able to study much recently because of the overwhelming amount of work we’ve had. I try to sneak in studying here and there— doing an hour here and there of Khan Academy, SAT practice or occasionally going to my Math tutor for extra guidance—but none of it, I feel, is substantial enough to really push me where I want to go regarding the SAT. This, combined with the fact I did so poorly on the previous SAT, makes me feel nervous about taking the SAT this Saturday.’ Josh ‘18 is not the only stressed senior worried about his shot at a difficult test.
Yamen ‘18 also admits ‘I’m really worried. I feel like my future is on the line. At the same time, I’m confident in my ability to beat the SAT!’ With some students feeling more optimistic about what they must face this weekend, there is still a sense of foreboding that comes with a highly important test. With school charging on at a fast pace, there is hardly any focused time for what is a crucial aspect of a college application. Taufiq ‘18 has some months before he takes his SAT but still has worries about his ability to study. “I am doing the full IB and right now it is really difficult because EEs and IA’s are all due in this month. Since my SAT is in December it is difficult because I have to spend more of my time on my IB subjects rather than focusing on my SAT.”
Evidently, testing is simply another item on the long ‘to do’ list for seniors. It is one that requires time on top of the academic rigour of the school year. Nevertheless, students still amazingly find the time to study for a test that has a large impact on their future.