Interesting: my SAT physics mock-test results

I was spending some time around the Physics Forums today when I came across this link.

For those who have no idea what the SATs are, this is what Wikipedia introduces it as,

SAT Subject Tests is the name for any of 20 standardized tests given on individual subjects by The College Board, usually taken to improve a student’s credentials for admission to colleges in the United States. Students typically choose which tests to take depending upon college entrance requirements for the schools to which they are planning to apply.

So I decided, out of the blue, to take the mock test given by The College Board on that link. Back in the Physics Forums, the question asked was to the effect of, how true to the actual SAT Physics tests is this mock test. While I still have not answered my question (and while I am not a huge fan of scoring marks wildly,) I realised, once I had finished the 36 questions long test, that I had nothing in my results to feel sorry for. So below I have a screenshot of my results that I took after the test.

A screenshot of my SAT Physics mock-test results

While the question originally posted on the Forums was not yet answered, what struck me was how vastly different this was from the IIT-JEE and AIEEE entrance tests conducted in India. For starters, you do not have to waste your seemingly limited human memory to remember the cationic radius of some obscure element you will hardly ever encounter.

The focus here was on the concept. For instance, if you did not know the formula for calculating the decay, knowing the half-life, (excuse my not stating the formula here) you can still manage to calculate by simply taking out four times the half-life (keeping in mind the previous result, like an electronic JK flip-flop!) That was how I worked it out, I did not use a formula; and I doubt if anybody really understood my method because translating your mathematical thoughts from your head is a difficult task, and often not one that yields desired results.

However, those of you who did understand it might argue that this method cannot be used in the long run, and that the formula is necessary. But when is it that we encounter the need for this? When in research, perhaps. Or when a mathematical model yields such results.

The key factor is that you have more time than a SAT test to think up (or conjure!) the formula and work it out. And yet, while it may be a tad time-consuming, my method does not fail.

But this is just the icing in the cake of differences I found between our tests here and the SATs. The point is, in the SATs you can use your head for something better than blindly remembering a few wild numbers and symbols (something like, working out based on the concept if you have ever heard of it.)

Being particularly interested in physics, I would naturally have to take the SAT physics subject test to dress up my application to a university; and if, indeed, the mock-tests are true to the real SATs, my results would look a lot like this:

Details of the SAT physics subject test on their website, along with my results

This quite means I can get into a mighty good American university, does it not?

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2 thoughts on “Interesting: my SAT physics mock-test results

  1. hey, I’ve read some of your posts. Come and visit mine too. :) I added you at my blogroll..

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