When in doubt, pick C: an SAT primer


Multiple Choice Test, to be done in number two pencil on a Sunday in a badly lighted room with as much pressure as you can manufacture. Guessing is encouraged and may even raise your score.

1. SAT stands for:

a) Scholastic Aptitude Test
b) Scholastic Achievement Test
c) Snobby Annoying Trial
d) None of the above. In fact, it doesn’t stand for anything.

2. The SAT was originally created:

a) To test the IQs of soldiers in the U.S. Army
b) To test the IQs of prisoners in U.S. jails
c) To determine how to turn lead into gold
d) To drive you and your parents crazy

3. The ACT is, relative to the SAT:

a) More difficult to do score well on
b) Less difficult to score well on
c) The norm in certain regions of the country
d) A & C

4. The SAT is, relative to how it used to be:

a) Easier to score well on (more students now get perfect scores)
b) Harder to score well on (fewer students now get perfect scores)

5. Which of the following are changes made to the SAT in 2005?

a) No more analogies!
b) The addition of an essay section (formerly the Writing SAT II)
c) The math section is now slightly more advanced
d) All of the above

6. The new SAT consists of 

a)  Four sections: Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision
b)   Six sections , three of which are experimental and there to mess with you
c)  A verbal section, a math section, and an essay section
d)  A verbal section and a math section
e)  A verbal section, a math section, an essay section, and a write-in-our-own joke section for extra credit

7. The SAT is important 

a) because if you ever want to work for a hedge fund, they will ask you for your score
b) because your score will be carved on your tombstone when you die
c) only if you want to go to a school that has been around over 150 years
d) only if you want a scholarship
e) as a relic of an old-fashioned system that claims to be merit-based but actually consistently rewards the children of the rich over everyone else
f) None of the above

8.  No, really, the SAT is important

a) because most universities require it as a measure of your preparedness to handle college-level work
b) because anything that lasts almost four boring hours must matter a hell of a lot
c) because your score is the last word in how smart you are
d) A & B

9.  Taking the SAT more than once

a) always makes you look bad
b) always makes you look good
c) is nothing to worry about. Most people take it at least twice and do improve their scores at least a little.

10. Which of the following rankings of celebrities is correct, from lowest SAT score to highest:
a) Al Franken, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates
b) Ben Stein, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton
c) George Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore
d) Bill Gates, Al Franken, Al Gore

11. Studying for the SAT

a) is pointless—your score is the last word in how smart you are and studying cannot alter your results
b) is something done by everyone who scores well on the SAT
c) is a great way to spend ten consecutive weekends
d) is good and useful up to a point, but try not to drive yourself nuts. Your score is your score, and other aspects of your application matter too.

Writing Section

Write an essay on one of the following topics:

1) Fish—and protein in general—has been shown to boost performance on reasoning and intelligence tests. In 500 words, defend your choice to eat Twinkies for breakfast pre-SAT.

2) On average, children of wealthier parents do better on the SAT than children of poorer parents; Asians do better than whites; boys do better than girls on the math section; girls do better than boys on the writing section; and someone, somewhere, will take the test without studying or even having slept well the night before and yet will do better than you will. In 750 words, explain why American Idol remains as popular as it does.

3) In 1,000 words, defend your opinion that your SAT score is the last word in how smart you are.


1. d     2. a     3. d     4. b     5. e     6. c     7. f     8. d     9. c     10. a     11. d

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