The SAT Is Not the Kraken

The SAT Is Not the Kraken
The topics tested on the SAT???and the journey to get there???are meaningful. They deserve a permanent place on your bookshelf of knowledge (Photograph by Samuel Kessler/Getty Images)
Photograph by Samuel Kessler/Getty Images

This tip for improving your SAT score was provided by Alicia Wei at Veritas Prep.

Many students view the SAT as a terrifying monster that feeds on archaic vocabulary, needlessly wordy math problems, and childhood dreams. In reality, the material of the SAT is a part of the foundation for lucrative ideas and business professionalism. More often than not, people severely underestimate the usefulness of the content in the SAT and the benefits of the journey to mentally and academically prepare for it.

The mathematics sections enforce important topics that can lead to a multibillion dollar system. To demonstrate, consider the following problem:

#18. Take three positive integers that have no common factor and where a + b = c (for instance, 5, 8, and 13). Now take the distinct prime factors of these integers—in this case 2, 5, and 13—and multiply them to get a new number, d. What is d in terms of c?

This question is written in the familiar structure of an SAT problem, even with the dreaded “in terms of” phrase. It contains such key words as positive, integers, common factor, distinct, and prime numbers. Nearly all math questions on the SAT require students to memorize these fundamental vocabulary terms. The vast majority of high school students do not realize that when used in the correct situations, knowledge of math vocabulary can contribute to creating copious amounts of money. In fact, the above problem is the notorious “abc conjecture,” a problem that allegedly inspired the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto to create the Bitcoin system in 2009. Four years later, Bitcoin had a market capitalization of over $10 billion.

Does learning SAT math vocabulary suddenly seem much more worthwhile?

The grammar questions in the SAT writing sections are often criticized as obscure and useless. Before we jump on that bandwagon, let us first look at the frequently tested grammar rules: subject-verb agreement, verb tense, pronoun agreement, punctuation, and parallel construction, to name a few. Contrary to popular belief, the grammar rules on the SAT are basic and essential components of the English language.

A recent study by Grammarly, an online grammar-checking program, drew correlation between correct grammar usage and monetary success on LinkedIn, a professional networking website. They found that Coke and Google made four times fewer writing mistakes than did Pepsi and Facebook, respectively. Coke and Google control a significantly bigger market share than their competitors. Brad Hoover, chief executive officer of Grammarly, postulates that there is probably highly causality at play. “Accurate writing demonstrates professionalism, and customers are more likely to buy a product or a service from a company they trust.”

Inversely, bad grammar can cost corporations large amounts of money. For example in 2006, Rogers Communications and Bell Aliant were involved in a $2.6 million contract dispute over a single comma that had created an ambiguous clause. Reviewing grammar rules tested on the SAT would have easily prevented this disaster. Clearly, correct grammar is a necessary and treasured commodity.

The subject areas covered in the SAT apply to the real world in significant ways. Moreover, the process of studying for and taking the exam is a great exercise in self-discipline and determination. Standardized tests do not end with the SAT. MCAT for medical school, LSAT for law school, GMAT for business school, GRE for graduate school, and other tests known by acronyms will require the work ethic first instilled in students when they conquer the SAT.

The SAT score is not merely a four-digit number to include in your college applications. The topics tested on the SAT—and the journey to get there—are meaningful. They deserve a permanent place on your bookshelf of knowledgePlan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks.

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