What Does The SAT Measure

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We talk about the SAT in every dimension, but how about what the entire test measures overall? Today, let’s answer in a nutshell, what does the SAT measure from students for moving forward.

What does the SAT measure? Let’s take a quick look at what it is meant to examine in students.

Here is an idea of where SAT scores stand in 2020.

What The SAT Actually Tests

Let’s take a minute to ask what the SAT overall is trying to find out about you.

The SAT’s overarching purpose is testing students’ readiness for college-level study and work. It’s designed to probe less about what you already know, in and of itself, and more of what you can handle.

The Reading, Writing & Language, Math, and Essay sections are designed to see how prepared you are to handle those subjects at an advanced level. Think of the test as more a measurement of potential versus sheer knowledge.

More importantly, the recently-redesigned test is also designed to evaluate career readiness after college graduation. The idea is that what you’ve learned alone isn’t enough. You also need to demonstrate how well you can apply that information and skill in practical applications.

What The SAT Does NOT Measure

Don’t even think that the SAT is meant to be an IQ test.

The SAT is meant to exam and demonstrates your learned information. In this case, learned information includes facts, concepts, and skills acquired over the course of your education through high school.

The test is trying to quantify how prepared you are for both college and career afterward, based on what you already know. The test is not designed as a means to measure your IQ.

Does IQ Come Into Play?

In short, IQ doesn’t really come into play.

‘IQ’ designates how well you can solve problems and think based on the provided information at the moment. That is very important to remember.

You can’t “study” for IQ tests because they don’t look for previously gained information. You’re being asked to think on the spot about information you have no idea about beforehand.

The SAT presents questions based upon information you should already reasonably have. You can prepare for the test ahead of time because there is a clear idea about what kinds of questions and information you must recall. You don’t go into the SAT blind.

This might sound like splitting hairs but it’s an important distinction. IQ and the SAT test for fundamentally different things. A high IQ person can identify a missing number within a sequence by deducing the pattern but might fail an algebra question because he or she doesn’t know which formula to use for it.

What The SAT Does A Good Job of Predicting

The SAT is a solid way to predict future college success.

High-scoring students normally either prep extensively or are well-educated enough in the first place to get a score high without prep. High-scoring students also naturally develop good study habits and discipline.

Half of the battle is learning the information in the first place, so countless hours are likely spent on reviewing notes and homework throughout school. Again, the SAT should be seen as less of an intelligence test, and one based more around discipline and focus.

Students who put in the time and work to do well on it, most often succeed. College admission boards understand this fact too; that’s why they use the test as a shortcut to begin their application evaluations.

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