New stakes for Juniors taking the SAT


Noah Molenda, Staff Writer

For this year’s junior class, the SAT is a graduation requirement, in place of ISTEP, so the test is now more important than ever.

“Not necessarily is the state worried if they get a particular score or not, but they need to complete the SAT,” Guidance Director Mrs. O’Dell said. “With that being said, the state has set scores, and if the student obtains those scores in the Math section and the Reading/Language section, they would fulfill box 3 of their diploma requirements.

“Box 1 is where they have to earn so many credits for their diploma. Box 2 is where you have to have employ-ability skills set up. And then box 3, there’s like nine different opportunities to fulfill that obligation. Concentrator is one, which a lot of kids are doing, but then the SAT is one as well.”

Mrs. O’Dell offered a scenario where if two students with relatively similar GPA apply to a college, but one student submits their SAT scores as well, that student may be chosen over the other.

“Just because you applied to a college doesn’t mean you’re going to get in,” Mrs. O’Dell said. “There are factors, and they’re looking for the kid who’s gone above and beyond. The colleges would appreciate a test score.”

Students have many resources and opportunities around them to sharpen their skills.

“Last week in their homeroom, they were to have picked up a student guide, of which several of them were returned to Guidance, I’m not sure why,” Mrs. O’Dell said. “The student guide has practice questions in there. They can also log into, or Khan Academy, which have sample questions as well. Any student who completed the PSAT and followed through with their log-in information, they have specific strategies to help kids improve in the areas they were struggling in. A lot of stuff is through to better prepare themselves.”

Senior and Valedictorian Vincent Feliciano once felt the same stresses that the Junior class is facing now.

“Just be confident with your answers and pace yourself,” Feliciano said. “Try not to read too much into a question, if you don’t know an answer just skip it, because it’s not a penalty. It’s better to answer the ones you do know than spend so much time on one you don’t.”

One of the many changes with the SAT this year includes pricing.

“In years past, kids would legit sign up and register to take the SAT on a Saturday,” Mrs. O’Dell said. “They would come in bright and early Saturday morning at 7:15 and complete the exam. It was about a $68 exam. With them taking it during the day here at school this year, it’s free of charge, there is no cost.”

With the pressures and stress that come along with testing, Mrs. O’Dell encouraged students to maintain uplifted spirits.

“It does make for a very long day, both for the teachers and the students,” Mrs. O’Dell said. “Of all days to be kind to one another, this would be the day. All I can ask is that every junior and the proctors get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast the morning before. Just do the best you can to stay focused.”