An Ode to The SAT


SAT books have piled up since last year when seniors began to study for the test, now finally a year later we can get rid of them. Photo via Flickr

You pull into the senior parking lot 15 minutes early. It’s the first time you’ve had to squeeze your car into one of the difficult-to-maneuver corner spots. Your stomach churns with butterflies when you think about the next four hours. You peer in your rearview mirror, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone you know but alas! The only people you see are people you haven’t spoken to since March! Just then, your phone lights up with a message from a friend: “Want to walk in together?” You nearly jump for joy! Quickly you stow your phone in your glove box, gather your #2 pencils, calculator and water bottle and rush to meet the savior of your morning. 

Then you see it: the mile-long line wrapping around the volleyball courts of six-feet-apart students waiting for their health screens to be checked off and let into the building. You wait and wait and wait and wait. The crushing boredom makes you forget you’re about to take one of the most influential tests of your high school career until…finally! You’re in! And then you remember what lies ahead and the dread re-enters your stomach as you walk down the hall, up the stairs to your testing room. 

Is this what your senior year has succumbed to? One four hour test? Walking through the empty courtyard for the first time of the year, but will it also be the last? No, you must push those thoughts out of your head, the next four hours are monumental and you have to focus. 

Flash forward, you’re sitting at a desk, your own little COVID-19 germ bubble. The test is spread out in front of you, but suddenly you need to pee! You glance at the clock: still, 63 minutes left before the break. It’s ok. You can do this. It’s only the longest section. Just focus. You do not need to pee. You do not need to pee. Why did you drink that second cup of coffee??? Ok, come on. You need to work on the reading section. 

Finally, it’s break time. You raise your hand fast as a bullet and run-walk to the bathroom. When you get back to your testing room, you’re all set for the next section. Grammar and then no calculator math? You could do this in your sleep. But then you realize you have completely forgotten when to use “affect” and when to use “effect” and somehow all of your basic math knowledge has flown out the window. You can already tell that this too will be a long hour. 

Then at long last, you’ve gotten through all standard parts of the test. The test proctors start to pick up your test booklets, and you breathe a sigh of relief. But wait! Why aren’t they collecting your answer sheet? Oh no! Your mom must have signed you up for the essay. As you put this together, you begin looking around the room. Sure enough, the box of tests says “SAT W/ Essay” and the board where all of the times have been displayed says “Essay: 50 Minutes.” You curse yourself for not checking when you registered before plunging into the last segment of what feels like the longest test of your life. 

And then it’s done. You never have to take the SAT again! You burst into the courtyard, breathing in the warm fall air. Every minute of the past few hours was worth it for this feeling of achievement. This feeling that you are free from the SAT.