One of the best things about summer vacation is the fact that you don’t have to worry about the numerous responsibilities that you (probably less than willingly) agreed to take on during the year. One of the worst things is that some adults just don’t get it. If I made a list of the worst birthday/Christmas gifts I’ve ever received, topping the list are three things in particular: a used gift card (no money left on it at all), hand-me-down socks from my cousins who live on a farm in Nebraska, and an SAT prep book. Now, the prep book may be by far the most useful, but you have to see where I’m coming from. Nobody wants homework for a present.
Unfortunately, grandparents don’t really see it that way. And parents like to set deadlines. So mine told me to finish the first section by yesterday. So, of course, I procrastinated until the day of the deadline, since I always work fastest given an approaching limit. I thought this would work out fine. But things went from fine to pretty bad awfully quickly. One of our neighbors called and asked me to babysit at the last minute. I love babysitting, but her kids (three boys, aged 1, 3, 5) are a real handful, and they stay up all night-I’m talking later than I usually do. I spent six extremely exhausting hours running up and down stairs, cleaning up spills, and mitigating arguments. When I got home, it was 11:27 (in case you’re wondering, that’s when their parents got home. They still weren’t asleep). On a typical night, 33 minutes would be just enough for me to blitz through a section of SAT prep, but that night, it was way beyond me.
So as it stands today, I may or may not be up to this book. Of course, I could work on it now, but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? In any case, I’m wondering how much I really need it. I probably do; I know pretty much everyone’s scores go up if they study or practice or whatever you want to call it. But I felt like I should know exactly where I’m starting. Otherwise, how will I know if I’m learning anything? Despite my less-than-illustrious start to SAT prep, I decided to take an SAT practice test online. The results were interesting. I got an 800 on math, but I missed two questions (I know this happens sometimes, but I’m not sure if two questions is too many). I only got a 640 in writing and 580 in reading, but when I looked at the answers and explanations, several questions had statements such as “The correct answer is D. A is the correct answer because…” and full explanation for why A was correct following. When I recalculated my scores using the second answer, I got an estimated 680 in writing and 720 in reading. A decent place to start, I guess, but still, I have to wonder about the accuracy of that one. Most practice tests, I’ve heard, overestimate what scores you’ll get on the tests, because of no essay section and no accurate way to scale. Also, given the scoring mistakes (and the whole not-so-qualified random internet test, oops), I’m going to have to take the scores with a grain of salt.
As it is, I’m back to studying. Three cheers for summer. So far, I haven’t managed to read past the introductory section with “Major test-taking strategies.” They don’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but maybe they will once I actually try them on a test; we’ll see. For now, I’m just hoping I don’t have to babysit any more.