Opinion: The College Board is being “sus”


“The College Board slaps students in the face” Graphic by: Kai Torres

As students progress throughout their high school career, many become very familiar with an organization known as the College Board. The College Board provides students with various resources, such as constructing plans for college, or registering for an SAT exam.

However, I was particularly angered with The College Board as I was taking my SAT exam the morning of Saturday August 26. Now throughout high school, I’ve had my fair share of SAT’s and PSAT’s, including the SAT with essay. What appeared on my most recent SAT however was something I’d not been prepared for, nor did I imagine to show up… a fifth section?

Now everyone who’s taken an SAT, and even some people who haven’t, know that there are four parts to the SAT: reading, writing & language, math with no calculator, and math with a calculator.

As much as I was shocked by this mind game being played by the College Board, the mysterious fifth section on some SAT exams has also shocked the internet. According to Valerie Strauss from The Washington Post, on February 4, the College Board quietly let out information at an SAT session in Boston that some students would be required to complete a fifth multiple choice section.

Not only is this just absolutely absurd that the College Board would randomly release a surprise fifth section to what is supposed to be a standardized test, but also the fact that only some test-takers get a fifth section. I know the College Board has the intention to prepare students for college, but this is just devious.

“The College Board slaps students in the face” Graphic by: Kai Torres

It’s also very suspicious that the College Board offers no means to study for this fifth section, and that despite a very vague and somewhat “public’ statement, they try to withhold this knowledge from test-takers. Don’t we at least have the right to know!?

It’s as if we not only paid money, but put in time and energy to participate in a college board experiment. Had I been asked to participate in an experimental section for the greater good of furthering research, I wouldn’t have had any issues, however, the fact that the College Board tried to pull a fast one on me really grinds my gears.

Not only was this fifth section administered completely out of the blue, but the College Board has also released zero information as to whether or not this section will count towards your overall composite score. According to Prometric testing company, there are two types of classifications for experimental questions such as the fifth section of the SAT, and they are operational and pretest.

The difference between operational questions and pretest questions is that operational exam questions affect your score and pretest exam questions do not. The College Board however, has yet to release any information on whether or not the exam questions on the fifth section are operational or pretest. So just when you thought the new SAT was actually quite different, the experimental questions appear again, however this time, they appear under the test-takers radar.

As for now with the lack of information provided by the College Board, I’ll have to wait until September to see if the fifth section impacted my score or not. My advice to test takers though would be that, in order to avoid the potentiality of taking a mysterious fifth section, you can pay more money to take the SAT with the essay. Or, you can remain a guinea pig to the College Board just as I, and thousands of students across the nation are.