If you were to ask 100 high school juniors to pick the three scariest letters in the English language, I’m willing to bet at least 75 percent of them would answer SAT.
For those of you who have been out of high school for the past several decades, the SAT is a standardized test that teenagers around the world take as part of the college application process. Basically, it’s the most important test a kid will ever sit through.
Most of my Stanford classmates had begun rigorously preparing for the SAT by the time they entered eighth grade. Not only did they take the test every April and May, many also took prep classes. Usually held at private “learning centers,” these six-month-long courses require students to meet each day after school for two to three hours. From learning 10- dollar words like “hussar” and “intromit” to completing hundreds of practice math problems, students obtain all the skills they need to absolutely demolish the SAT.
They also spend a fair amount of time learning what the learning centers advertise as “secret” test-taking strategies. While they can hardly be considered secret, (most can be found on the Internet with a simple Google search) these strategies can make the difference between a decent SAT score and one good enough to get into Stanford. The cost of all this valuable information? Anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000...