In a pandemic, already skyrocketing anxiety rates have risen to epidemic proportions.
I saw one of my high school classmates who lives in New Jersey two years ago around this time. We were discussing college and SATs in general. He noted that his daughter was really stressed. I suggested that they start SAT test prep as soon as possible. My friend’s wife – who is a very nice woman – disagreed and thought they should simply deemphasize the test through avoidance. “We don’t want to stress her out…” she explained. So we’ll just let her take the test without test prep.
My friend’s daughter went to high school in an area similar to Shoreline Connecticut. I knew she would soon hear that her friends were preparing for the SAT. They might grumble about doing so but at least they would be actively tackling the thing that was causing them anxiety.
I did not see my old classmate again until the summer. As might be expected, the unprepared daughter did not do well on the March test. But, instead of then digging in for SAT prep, his wife again suggested that she simply skip taking the May/June test. “Junior year was stressful. She was playing a sport. I didn’t want to add one more thing that causes anxiety…”
I should add that the student did not have any serious anxiety issue, just the garden variety type that most people have about something that causes stress. More importantly, the student wanted to attend a “good college”, which usually translates to a “college that most people think is good”. This basically means a highly ranked college. Those colleges, of course, most always require strong SAT scores.
As expected, the summer before her senior year was incredibly stressful. Their daughter now had to do well on her fall SATs or she would be at a serious disadvantage when applying to college.
On this issue, the SAT hiccup of this Covid year will be like so many things, just an unusual part of crazy 2020.
As it is with most everything in life, preparation reduces anxiety. Start SAT prep in January.