How to prepare for the SAT


Lana Almansoori

With the school administering an SAT in April, it’s important to consider strategies to alleviate stress.

Students preparing for the upcoming April SATs reevaluate their SAT study habits as colleges reevaluate the value of SAT scores. 

Public discourse on whether the SATs are an accurate measure of a student’s academic capability have catalyzed a devalue in the SATs and potential changes to its testing methods. As the 2023 SATs and PSATs approach, Hinsdale Central students must know how to prepare for testing- given the impression of decreasing interest in SAT scores from colleges. 

The reevaluation of the SATs can be attributed to three major reasons; the questioning of the tests’ ability to reflect a student’s intellect, the importance of more subjective aspects of an application and the equity question. 

Considering the nature of the tests, many colleges have debated whether the SATs are indicative of a student’s academic potential or rather their test-taking skills, according to the LA Times . Colleges have also placed increasingly more emphasis on more subjective aspects of an application- such as essays- in comparison to SAT scores. 

According to Lisa Hikes, student counselor at Hinsdale Central, essays and extracurriculars have become more significant because they are more reflective of a students identity and personhood, differentiating them from other applicants. Colleges have also debated whether the SATs are equitable as people of higher socioeconomic status have better access to resources- such as tutors, programs, PSATS- which can help prepare students for the SATs. This disparity targets not only students of lower income, but also racial minorities. 

“I do think that test scores play into some of the equity conversations that schools have,” Hikes said. “A school might think that a student that does really… well on a test score… has been significantly coached and/or has the luxury of being in a school that prepares them well for those tests.”

Despite the decreasing significance of the SATs, Hinsdale Central students are not entirely absolved of the pressure that comes with the SATs. Many students said they feel that although the SATs may not be as significant as they used to be, they are still an integral part of an application. 

“Juniors are stressed about it. I know I am,” said Janet Leon, junior.

Furthermore, some students said they feel pressured because they do feel that the SATs are reflective of their capabilities, not only from the perspective of colleges, but also personally. 

“I actually place a lot of value in my SAT score because I personally feel like there’s… a lot to be said about your like- preparedness and like readiness for just exams in general,” said Sanuthi Edirisinghe, sophomore. 

Students also account for the pressure that comes from parents and guardians as the SATs were more significant when they were in school.

“It’s harder for like parents to understand the decreased value of that, so like my parents … they’re like trying to prep me for that,” Edirisinghe said. 

Considering the changing attitudes towards the SATs and continued pressure on students, here’s how to prepare for the 2023 SATs. Although many students have access to private tutors and programs, many students and counselors have recommended free resources- notably Khan Academy- provided by the college board. Hikes also suggests preparing for the SATs by developing academic skills through classes.

“Spend your time and energy taking your classes here seriously,” Hikes said. “And then when you have to take standardized testing, go into those experienced, well rested, well prepared and do your best and whatever that outcome is, may or may not play into this process at all.”