Saturday, July 7, 2018

Enriching Education: 3 Myths (and 3 Truths) SAT Students and Their Parents Should Know About

The infamous SAT: a huge milestone for those students preparing to leave school and enter higher education. It might seem like their future hangs in the balance at this time, to be determined by the digits of the SAT score.

For any teenager, this is a mightily important test. If you are a parent of one of these kids, you’ll be very keen to know how best they should prepare for the occasion and the optimum routes to SAT success.

So, what’s the big deal with the SAT?

Fundamentally, it’s an academic aptitude test.

The SAT was originally designed in the USA, almost a century ago, to assess each high school graduating student’s readiness for college and their aptitude to succeed in higher education. It is now taken by millions of high school graduates all over the world, all keen to prove their worth and land a top college place in the USA and elsewhere.

At first, the SAT was deliberately designed not to test what had been learned in high school; that was the role of the grade point average (GPA).

The SAT was intended to be used alongside the GPA as a measure of core skills such as reading comprehension, writing, problem-solving, and numeracy. By combining information from the SAT and the GPA, a college was able to judge which students were most suitable for admission.

Over time, the SAT has undergone many changes, particularly so in 2016. While it is still intended to be a measure of college readiness, the new SAT is quite different from its predecessors.
Its skills focus has shifted. As a result of this, there is often confusion surrounding the new style, and several myths prevail.

These myths can make the test even more daunting and are a distraction that can ultimately damage a student’s score.

There are three particularly common myths your child may have heard of from classmates and repeated. Here’s what you need to ignore, and what you need to know:

Myth 1: “The SAT tests my IQ, and there’s not much I can do about it!”

The intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measure of a person’s mental capacity, and it will vary only very slightly over a lifetime. Intelligence or IQ should not be confused with knowledge and skills, which can be increased through learning and practice.

 The SATs are not an IQ test. While intelligence contributes to success in the SAT, the test is actually there to determine if a student has the core skills they need to get through college. Reading, writing, problem-solving, numeracy… all are acquired skills and can be developed further, with the right help.

It’s important to remember that knowing how to do well on the SAT is a skill in itself, and it needs to be learned and practiced.


Preparing for the SAT with guidance from teachers, or specially designed SAT test prep classes, is a vital step to succeed in the test.


Myth 2: “My classmates seem to know more than me, so I’ll have a weaker SAT score”

Does your child seem to have more of a problem remembering dates for history class, or what a chemical symbol stands for in chemistry than their classmates? This is unlikely to be an issue for the SAT.

The SAT is not a test of knowledge. It is designed to level the playing field, no matter where or how a student was educated. The achievements required for a GPA score of 4.0, for instance, can vary from school to school, so the SAT scores can be vital to distinguish the difference between two students with the same GPA.

Because students will not have studied the same curriculum if they have not attended the same school, it would be unfair for the SAT to test knowledge.

Instead, the SAT tests reasoning, logic and critical thinking, meaning that no matter where in the world a child was educated or what topics they covered, they have the same potential to score a certain way just like everyone else.


An SAT score is not determined by how much a student knows on the day, but by how solid their core skills are, and how much they understand on how to take the test.


Myth 3: “Writing is my weakest point, so I should opt out of the essay writing section”

For many students, essay writing is not a favored activity or their strongest SAT skill. It can be tempting for them to take that “dodging a bullet” feeling and opt out of the essay part entirely.

However, this is rarely the right choice to make. Put yourself in the shoes of a college admissions tutor choosing between two students. They have identical SAT scores and GPAs, one has produced a solid essay, the other opted out. Chances are that she will take the student that opted in, in part because it shows a positive attitude.

The essay is required by some colleges, and not having it may exempt a student from taking some classes even in colleges who do not require it for admission. For the best opportunities and to prevent the doors from closing, taking the essay is the right path.


Your child should opt into the essay section to maximize their college opportunities. Get help so they learn how to write exactly what the SAT essay judge is looking for: it’s actually straightforward to produce a top SAT essay.

In essence, the simple truth is that kids who have done their research on the test, learned what it involves and what the testers are looking for, are the ones that do well.

SAT prep is the key to success!


Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.

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