Monday, March 17, 2014

SAT survival

What’s worse than waking your teenager up early on a Saturday morning?
Waking your teenager up early on a Saturday morning so she can take a test.
Not just any test. The SAT.
Yeah, that test. The one that certain colleges are apparently sooooo into. And take very seriously, as in without a score of approximately 3,951 you’re not coming to our college, no way, no how. We don’t care who your momma is.
Scholarship givers are also kind of obsessed with SAT numbers.
For example, the highest score wins. Which I guess is OK if you are the one with the money and in charge of handing it out.
But we are not the ones with the money, we are the ones looking for the money, which meant that last weekend I had the Worst Mom Job Ever — waking our 16-year-old up early so she could go do a whole bunch of math at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday.
Proper Photo Identification is another big SAT thing.
Apparently — shocker! — there are some students who imagine they can send some super-smart impostor to take the SAT test for them.
This explains why I had to spend three days hounding our 11th-grader about finding her student ID so she could prove to those SAT ID checkers that she really was her super-smart self.
SAT testers are very specific about what to bring on test day:
Exactly two No. 2 pencils and a “soft” eraser.
A snack.
A water bottle.
But no cellphones. Students caught using cellphones can get kicked out of the SAT.
No parent who just paid $50 to make her teenager do word problems on a Saturday morning wants to get a call an hour later saying come get your kid who just got kicked out of the SAT for texting her boyfriend.
Students also need a high-tech calculator (the kind that always seems to be missing the day before test day) and extra batteries.
The day before the test, I put new batteries into the calculator, and then put it, along with the pencils, eraser, student ID, test ticket, a water bottle and a snack, into a big Ziploc bag.
There. Everything is perfectly visible and nice and organized. I can now continue my fretting about those weird SAT analogy questions and square roots.
At the school that morning, I handed our girl the plastic baggie with her test-taking survival items securely zippered within.
“A Ziploc bag?” she said. Really?
It’s all there, I said. Ready to go.
Grumbling, she got out of the car, Ziploc bag in hand.
Four hours later, I waited outside the school. As the kids started leaving the classrooms, no one looked overly traumatized.
Most of them just looked like they wanted to take a nap.
Right before our girl came out, I saw one boy leaving.
Guess what he was carrying?
A big Ziploc bag with a water bottle and calculator in it.

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