In our English literacy class, we were required to write two college essays. Here’s one of my college essays that reflects my opinion about the SAT test.
My heart was racing. Time was rapidly counting down. My head was looking downward at stack of A4 papers, full of writings, trying to search for a correct answer. I was struggling. I skeptically circled “C” to all the leftover questions that I didn’t get through.
“Time’s up! Pencils down!” my facilitator precisely announced. The SAT test was over; the burden was finally off my shoulder. I was filled with worries when I overheard that another student had gone through all the questions, while I didn’t have enough time to get through approximately 15 questions.
I was always being told that “the SAT scores can’t define who I am as a person,” which is true, but it limits my access to many opportunities for overseas scholarships. If my SAT score doesn’t fall in a certain range, I would not be eligible for applying for scholarships or even worse than that, I don’t even have the permission to apply as an applicant even if I have money to pay for my tuition.
I sometimes would sit down and ask myself, “WHY?” Everyone was born with their individual unique quality, but why is their ability being judged and compared over a timed test? I’m not for the idea of comparing my work to another student’s work while I might take way more time than one might.
In addition to the test, passages and questions that are used in the SAT are sometimes American based that we Cambodians wouldn’t be able to comprehend. There are older styles of English writing used. Even some Americans where English is the first language agrees that the styles of questions are hard for them to understand, and now it is me, a second language English learner, a 16 year old, a Cambodian, trying to do good on the SAT.
I might not have the scores that those colleges out there are looking for, but I have this courage to keep smiling and learn from my failures. I have this heart to offer girls the opportunity to play sport, though they came from a background where girls aren’t encouraged to play, so I’ve sacrificed my weekend to train them. I have this ambition of making my own country into a better place it could be. I am Neang, and I’ve helped over 200 dogs and cats injected free rabies vaccinations, I’ve been on a film making internship and spent over 5 months to create an hour long musical that no other 16 year-olds had done before, I’ve led a play, but I am just not a test score.
I am not here to say that we should abolish every timed test that exist in the world, but I am here to express my feelings about these challenges that I’ve faced as a Cambodian highschooler. I want a better way to measure student’s ability rather than SAT being a standardized test. I don’t want anyone to judge on how successfully I can answer questions in a set amount of time because “there’s really so much more to me than that.” – Victoria Justice.