Why did I have to effuse in such an absurdly over the top manner the other day?
I'm pretty sure that's where my bad luck began.
Trust me when I say that the jubilation came to a screeching halt right after I tallied my scores from a full practice SAT the very next morning.
Not a pretty sight. And humbling.
Please stop me if you ever see me doing that happy dance again.
This leads to a pile of melted feathers.
Anyway, 99.99% of the people who emailed after score day were of the extremely "supportive" variety (which made me feel so good. So thank you).
"You're an inspiration to know that this can be conquered with some motivation and persistence."
"Congrats!!!!! 800 in verbal is awesome!! if only the SAT gods would be so merciful to me :O) "
"You are totally cracking me up! And making me a little less afraid to take the GRE."
"OMG perfectscoreproject.....you're the coolest mom ever."
Even my own teenage daughter told me how proud she was of me.
But of course there had to be one email (from a tutor offering advice) that I never should have opened up right after scoring that 5 hour (punishing) practice SAT. And on a belly full of nothing more than a few chocolate fumes, I began to read this lengthy email:
She told me that I'm on the wrong track, that this test is "ridiculously easy," and that the kids at the top schools ("including her younger self") don't want to be in classes with kids who can't answer these questions. "They are so basic," she said. And then she added that the fact that I haven't been given a good math education shows up in my score, "and my writing."
I perseverated for days. (And yes, I use this word a lot. I like it.)
And then I woke up this morning and thought to myself, you know, I'm standing by my opinion: This test is hard.
Say what you will, but I urge you to give it a go yourself if you've got a kid coming up to bat in the next few years. The College Board offers a free practice SAT on their website. Take it all at once, and timed, so you can experience the full effect.
My friend Catherine, at Kitchen Table Math, has written a few posts recently about the difficulty of the SAT that are well worth the read.
One father wrote to me that his daughter, a high school junior, seemed to pick the math up very easily. After a few weeks he made a judgement call not to spend their limited resources (i.e. time) on the math section, but rather focus on the reading and writing instead:
"Where most of the solutions to the SAT questions are rather simple and straight forward if you can get the "trick" to the question. I mention all this because the math is somewhat of a gift in that the ones who have math "insight" can see the trick and quickly answer the question. And getting a physics degree at Columbia doesn't necessary mean you have that gift. Part of what happened with my daughter is she started "seeing" the insights necessary to answer the questions."
I suspect he is right. There is a degree of "gift" and "insight" that is beyond the scope of how well educated you are and how hard you've worked. And different people have different gifts.
Anyway, enough about this from me for now.
Charts & Graphs have been updated to reflect the latest scores.
Illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis