Guest Post: SAT: Stressful Anxiety Time

About the Author: After being accepted to four year college, but choosing to postpone going to college in favor of pursing a career as a cyclist, David in his spare time works at Hubbubbaloo Creative.  In the following, he offers insights to the challenges in taking the SAT or ACT.  



It’s a cold Saturday morning. You pull your car into a foreign parking lot, packed to the brim with students like you. Your breath fogs as you get out of the car. You carry little—a graphing calculator, a pencil, and a brand new pink eraser.

You take a deep breath, and try to slow the anxious beating inside your chest; then you trudge towards the looming buildings in front of you. Your eyes flash left and right, hoping to find someone you know. You go through procedure after procedure. Your Student ID is double and triple checked.

You line up alphabetically, and wait to hear your name called. You file into the foggy schoolyard, slowly peeling off from the other groups, heading to your own specific classroom.

Your stress continues to build. “You will do great,”  you tell yourself.  You’ve spent weeks studying for this. And, you slept well last night—nine hours of slumbering preparation. All you need is a 2400, and surely come late December, you will be showing up to school in a crimson Harvard sweatshirt. Or perhaps Yale’s royal blue. You haven’t really decided.

In front of the class, an old man drones on about the testing rules. You bubble in your name and copy the letters in the boxes above. You fill in your student number, and the proctor puts down his booklet. Finally, you can start your test.

You turn your page and begin. Your eyes dart across the page The room is silent, but for the scribbling of twenty pencils and the brush of an eraser.

One question, five questions, fifteen questions…the clock above you ticks naggingly;


Hurry up


You’re running out of time


Work faster


You get caught on a particularly tough question. You panic. You desperately try to remember your notes on the subject, but the answer won’t come. You try and complete the equation, but the numbers don’t add up. The clock ticks faster…Franticly, you skip to the next question, your pencil flying across the page. The timer rings, you fill in one last bubble, and cross your fingers.

You sit up with the twenty is other students around you. Your neck is sore, your hands stained grey from pencil graphite. Your eyes droop, your shoulders slump, but you relax. It’s over. You’re done. What happens now is out of your control. You did your best, and you’re proud. This morning the test seemed like an impossible feat, but you finished it, alive.

You grab your calculator and your pencil. You brush flakes of eraser off your lap, and shuffle out of the room with the rest of the students. The sun is out now. It’s pleasantly warm outside. Across the hall you see your friend, and she waves.

“How did it go?” she asks.

You smile. Together you head back to your cars, ready for whatever’s coming next.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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