Worried about new SAT? McDonald's is hiring . . .

March 16, 1994|By ROGER SIMON

I know a lot of high school kids are worried about the new SAT exam to be held Saturday, especially since the test has been changed for the first time in 20 years.

So I took a look at the new test, and I want to put their minds at rest:

It's impossible. Forget it. You are totally not going to do well. No way.

Why is the new SAT test impossible?

First, they changed the name. Formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it is now known as the Scholastic Assessment Test, just so a lot of kids will show up at the wrong room.

Second, look who is writing the new test: a bunch of old people, called baby boomers, who are in their 40s.

And you know what happens to people in their 40s?

One day their bosses say: "Gee, couldn't we hire some young punk kids just out of college to do their jobs for half the salary?"

So the real purpose of the new SAT is to make sure you never get to college and never take any jobs away from baby boomers.

I know what you have heard. You have heard that you will be able to use calculators on the SAT for the first time this year.

Think that's going to help?

OK, hotshot, take out your Beverly Hills 90210 calculator, the one with Shannen Doherty's picture over the multiply button.

Now try this. It is an actual sample test question provided by the College Board, which sponsors the SAT:

"There are 20 students in a class. For a given year, which of the following statements must be true?

"I. At least two of these students have their birthday on a Sunday.

"II. At least two of these students have their birthday on the same day of the week.

"III. At least two of these students have their birthdays in the same month.

"A) I only

"B) III only

"C) I and II only

"D) II and III only

"E) I, II and III"

As a little experiment, I asked nine of my colleagues at The Sun's Washington Bureau to answer that question.

And what was the result?

Four got it right and five got it wrong. (The correct answer is at the end of today's column.)

Where my colleagues went to college gave no clue as to how they would do: Those from Johns Hopkins, Antioch, Maryland, and Northwestern got it right.

Those from Yale, Chicago, Missouri, Maryland and the State University of New York at Albany got it wrong.

Average age of those getting it right: 43.5

Average age of those getting it wrong: 40.4

Three males and one female got it right.

Four males and one female got it wrong.

What does all this mean?

It means that you ain't goin' to college, pup!

You know how smart the people in Washington bureau are? They are totally smart.

The president of the United States reads what these people write to learn how to run the country! (And what fine advice he has been getting.) They are all college graduates. Some have advanced degrees.

And most of them could not answer the sample test question correctly.

So how can a nobody like you be expected to do well?

I also hear -- and this is just a rumor -- that the College Board decided to test its new SAT instructions with a sample group of high school kids last month.

The first instruction was: "Completely fill in the oval after each test question using a No. 2 pencil."

What happened?

* 62 percent of the kids responded: "What's an oval?"

* 34 percent responded: "What's a pencil?"

* 4 percent responded: "We've got guns, and we know how to use them."

So what can you do if you are a high school kid and nervous about the new SAT? Try this test, first.

It's called the Simon Aptitude Test and it has only two parts:

1. Repeat after me: "You want fries with that?"

2. Congratulations! You are now ready to enter the job market!

ANSWER: I lied about giving you the correct answer to the sample question. No way I'm letting some young punk take my job.

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