How Do Juniors Feel About the Recent SAT?


On April 14, 2021, juniors at North Providence High School completed a high school milestone: taking the SAT.

Overseen by CollegeBoard, it is primarily administered to high school juniors in the spring and seniors in the fall. The scores received are an important factor in the college admissions process (for students taking that route). In general, a higher score opens up more opportunities for university and lowers the costs of attending.

This year, the SAT at NPHS was administered completely digitally, a change from the previous strictly pencil-and-paper exams.

There are two sections on the test: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Each garners a separate score, and those two are then added to determine one’s composite SAT score. The highest possible score is 1600.

As a timed test, the SAT is three hours long. In addition, an optional 50-minute essay may be included, which was the case for the April 14th exam at NPHS. (Note that this essay will be removed completely by CollegeBoard by June 2021.)

Some students find the process of studying and taking the exam anxiety-inducing or difficult, others less so. What did juniors think about this year’s SAT?

One 11th-grader, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes that the test was “easier than expected.” However, she was dissatisfied with the environment, stating that “the proctoring was all over the place.” Faculty and staff from NPHS proctored the tests, with students split into different rooms.

Students also have strong opinions about the purpose of the exam. Another junior asserts, “The questions were not relevant and a bad detector of whether you are ready for college.”

Others reflect on their test preparation methods, with that same student sharing that class preparation for the SAT did not accurately reflect the actual test. A classmate, Linda Guo, did preparation a week before the test, and she states, “I don’t have a lot of confidence about my score. . . Some questions didn’t make any sense. I had to go back and forth. I almost ran out of time because of that.”

Certain questions on the exam are more difficult than others. Guo elaborates, “I think it really just comes down to what I am good at.”

As for the essay, many juniors share the opinion that the topic and writing was easy, including Guo.

The scores for the test are expected to come out by May 4th, and the essay up to 11 days after that.