Funny SAT Story

Hi Everyone,

So this blog here has so far been filled with doom and gloom and writing tips, right? I want to bring some levity (and more variety!) to it because I feel like it’s good for an author to show their other interests as well. I’m not all about writing, you know. I do tons of fun stuff.

Like studying for the SAT.

I got my second dose of the Covid Vaccine last week on Thursday, which would have been fine except for the fact that I had to take the SAT on Saturday. My parents were feeling better after a day or two, but my fever-like symptoms—which didn’t include mucus and congestion—stayed with me from Thursday to Friday and then to Saturday. I woke up that day feeling rested after finally getting some hours of sleep in, as opposed to the complete lack of hours I got on Thursday, but my headache was still there. I searched it up, and I think younger people suffer more severe side effects from the Covid vaccine because our immune systems are stronger, but don’t quote me on that.

Anyway, I woke up at 6:00 AM to drive to another school in Washington State because all the testing centers in Oregon State were closed. I don’t know if it was nerves or the time, but I didn’t use the bathroom before I left, and I neglected to do so once I got to the testing center (a school) as well.

What can I say? From sitting on semen to having people blockade or kick open stall doors (my response to which were a surprised “Fu—”), I’ve learned to instinctively avoid school bathrooms.

We were required to show our school ID and some other identification, but only one or two people were blocked from entry as we strode into the toasty building. The atmosphere was honestly welcoming: the test moderator loved to chit chat, handed out candy (which I only declined because I had brought my own), and there was no hint of the chill I had experienced while standing outside.

It was with great confidence that I started on the first section of the SAT. By the time the moderator called out “half the time has passed,” I had finished half of the questions.

That was when disaster struck.

Pardon my French, but I badly needed to poop.

More than that, my head started to pulse with pain. There were explosions in my head, perfectly synchronized with the clenching of my butt muscles. You see, my headache had earlier retreated as I calmed and sat, but aches are always searching for a reason to come back. In my case, any drastic muscle movement, such as standing up, would summon my demon of a headache.

And what could be more drastic than a fight with one of your primal needs?

The entire situation was one of those “I’ve won . . . but at what cost?” type of scenarios. I wrestled my aches down, but time didn’t stop for people who needed to use the bathroom. The passage I was reading was a particularly ambivalent one about the evils of both socialism and capitalism, and the questions were no less divided. I couldn’t focus enough to be sure of any of my answers, and by the time I was done, there were 10 questions left and only 8 minutes.

That wouldn’t be too bad on its own, but you forget: with those 10 questions, comes another passage to read.

It took me 4 precious minutes to skim through the passage, a sciency one about DNA contamination in archaeological findings. Then I had 4 minutes left—4 minutes for 10 questions. I finished 8, skipped over 1 because I had no time to study the graph, and bubbled my answer for the 10th question just as the timer hit zero.

Definitely not a test strategy I would recommend. With so little time, I couldn’t even glance at all the options for each question. I just had to choose the first one that looked right.

Overall, it wasn’t the worst test I’ve taken. This was my first SAT experience, anyway, so I’m going to be taking the test again in a month, this time knowing all my weaknesses. I’m pretty sure I got a perfect score in the 2nd section (we’ll see), though my 3rd section definitely needs work. The 4th section had only one question I had absolutely no clue about; I’d maybe one or two clues for the rest.

And of course, I’ll use the bathroom beforehand next time.

Hope you’re not too traumatized by my story,

Austin Wen

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