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SAT Prep: Worth It?

Standardized college admissions tests, the SAT in particular, are the worst predictors of potential college success . . . except for all the others. There has to be some kind of quantitative benchmark, I suppose, but the reality that emerged long ago is that a high school student's SAT score has become a kind of Scarlet Letter, for better or worse (mainly worse, in my opinion). It's almost as if aspiring college applicants have this four-digit number tattooed on their foreheads and the subjective judgments rain down from that point on.

There have been whole libraries of books written about intelligence testing. I presume that there is some positive correlation between one's SAT score and college success, but even so, I strongly maintain that there is no real positive correlation between a high SAT score and high accomplishment in life, for either men or women (they say the SAT is gender-biased against women, you know). There was once an amusing article (couldn't find it, though, after a cursory Google search) about a gathering of luminaries who wouldn't reveal their SAT scores. At the same event, others who hadn't even taken the SAT wouldn't sgree to take it. The upshot here is that the SAT wields tremendously overblown psychological power to intimidate or embarrass even the most celebrated and successful personalities. Is this justified? I think not.

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