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Testing Troubles

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You may have heard that about 100 students in Loudon County, Virginia, have to re-take the SAT this June. The College Board reports that the tests were never received, and unfortunately, there is no magical way to conjure scores for students whose tests were lost in the shuffle. As a result, after months of studying and hundreds of dollars spent on test prep, many families are bitterly disappointed. Frustration runs deepest with the students, who now have to muster up the strength to re-take the SAT when they have already put it all behind them. For us here at Thinking Organized, this story connects on a personal level. We would like to share our story and some words of wisdom for students faced with unexpected obstacles.

A relative of mine had to retake the SAT exam many years ago; her score was considered invalid for a reason that I still don’t understand. Needless to say, she thought the world had come to an end and that her chances of getting into college had significantly diminished. The College Board provided another test date, but that was hardly a terrific consolation prize. The first thing I did was to help this student understand that there was no other choice; the exam had to be retaken. I did agree with her that this was very unfortunate and highly unfair. I think acknowledging the tough situation that your child is facing can be an important way of showing that you are listening and agreeing that the predicament is terrible.

Next, we decided together that she had prepared as well as she could, so she was just going to go in and retake the SAT. For some students, the idea of having to gear up again to study is just so overwhelming that it is not worth the trouble. For others, a little more studying might calm nerves and show the student that he or she is ready. I tried to help her and her parents return to “normal life” until the exam, rather than continuously revisiting the issue. Although this retake may feel devastating to a high school student, it is important to try to move on and not dwell on the unfairness of the situation. By remaining stuck in frustration, a student’s schoolwork may suffer, which will have a larger impact on one’s overall profile than a repeated SAT.

Let your child know that you stand with him or her, acknowledge the student’s anger and frustration, and support your child in getting into a better mindset to retake the exam. Believe me, your student, like all high school students, will forget the stress of the SATs once the acceptance letters from colleges begin to come in!!

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