The SAT is a brutal test. Any test that requires someone to sit for more than 2 hours is brutal, and as you guessed, studying for these exams are excruciating and stressful. This past June, many high school students sparked an online protest that called for the College Board to completely rescore their SAT exam they took in June. From the looks of it, the “curve” confused many students because their scores did not increase, although having fewer incorrect answers.
The Reading and Writing section of the exam in June, for example, was curved to the point that students who were aiming for a 640 or 650 may have resulted with scored in the low 500s. One reason for this is that the curve was harsher because there were 2 questions removed from the reading section, and 2 questions removed from the writing section, with a total of 4 question being removed after the examination date. The fewer the questions there are, the less items College Board can compare students apart from each other, which leads to another curve that worsens already the bad curve.
The SAT curve isn’t exactly a curve, it’s a scale. This scale is determined by all the data compiled after the test and is sourced without test takers on that day. The College Board creates this scale by equating a group of students, anywhere from 1000 to 4000 to take an unreleased exam. Then, they use these results and cross it to real SAT scores. By using this tactic, the College Board is able to map all the hard and easy questions. And obviously, the easier the question, the more points it’s worth and the harder the question, the less points it’s worth. So, if you miss an easy question, you get docked off more points, because the people at College Board assumes you should get it right.
What’s weird is that June’s SAT was reported easy. So college board had to rescale everything differently, adding another steep to the curve. The students that protested with a petition and a #rescoreJuneSAT might have a point. This test was not “fair” for “all test takers”. What is the most fair? Tests that are as similar as possible, which means College Board has some work to do.