Does money affect SAT scores?


Corinna Lee

The SAT is not just another test that you can half study for the day before and hope for the best. It is probably the most important test that you will ever face in high school because it is the first step toward your future, at least in the college world.

In general, colleges admit students who achieve high SAT scores, so the higher the score is the better chance you have of getting into a college of your choice.  The SAT is out of 2400, composed of three subjects that are 800 points each.  This exam is filled with tricky vocab terms and wording to assess your reading comprehension and test taking skills.  Some students even start studying for this important test at the young age of 13, their seventh grade, to get a good four year head start.  With so many students applying to college, the SAT score standards have become increasingly competitive leading students to feel more pressure to do well on the SAT.  A 2300 to 2400 SAT score is more common nowadays thanks to SAT classes that guarantee improvement of your score by a couple hundred points. Not only have students become more competitive in taking the SAT, but the courses themselves are becoming more competitive too.  Since some are willing to pay as much money as it takes to score as high as they possibly can, SAT courses have been making significant dents in parents’ wallets.  These courses are able to charge outrageous prices ranging from one hundred dollars to a whopping one thousand dollars.  Spending a large amount of money on an SAT course all depends if they can even afford these insane prices that could potentially raise their score.

Although America is built around the mantra “free education” for everyone, it has come to many student’s attention that education now comes with a high price. Those who tend to be wealthier usually have had a higher education and are therefore more likely to have a higher value for education. The more money a family has, the more money they are able to spend on SAT classes and therefore have a higher chance of getting a better SAT score than those who can’t afford to take any courses. While it is true that those who take expensive SAT classes usually score well on the SAT, it is not only because they are able to afford such expensive SAT classes; they still have to work extremely hard to improve their their test score. However, it does seem that the SAT course taking system definitely favors those who can afford to take high end SAT courses over those who can’t afford it.

In asking fellow students for advice on which SAT course to take, they had said that they took not just one, but several SAT course to help them. One would think that a single course would be enough, but if they need to take a course up to three times it could cost up to $3,000!

Unless you have the unique talent of being highly intelligent and a good test taker, allowing you to score high on the SAT without taking any SAT classes, then this dilemma probably applies to you.  Of course you can try to study on your own, but some don’t have enough motivation or self discipline to be able to actually improve their score; this is why the SAT courses are changing the game.  Even if you do take an SAT course, you don’t always improve, unless you actually work hard on your own and do all the homework that they give you.

Not to forget, the cost of SAT books to take practice tests are also pretty high, but can be avoided if you borrow them from the library.  As an alternative students can try to find a tutor instead of enrolling in a course, so they won’t have to pay an enormous set price, especially if they only need help on a specific subject.  Mountain View High School has also been promoting less expensive SAT courses for students that have a difficult time paying for this expense.  Having friends that have taken an SAT prep course can give you tips that they have learned, a very helpful tool for taking the SAT.

Even though there are many challenges in overcoming this difference, you can always study on your own and stick to a routine that will help you improve your score. Overall, I think most of us can agree that money can have a big impact on raising or dragging your SAT score. Do you really think the majority of America could really afford to enroll their children in an SAT course?