The hours and dollars spent on SAT writing preparation might be for naught, the Boston Globe reports, as 56% of four-year colleges don’t even use the newest section of the aptitude test. Skeptics find fuel in a study showing that big words were all it took to achieve near-perfect scores. "These aren't higher-level learning measures," one admissions officer says.
The SAT’s third section was one of a number of changes instituted in 2005 to address concerns that the test didn't effectively measure college readiness. Students have only 25 minutes to read the essay question and draft their response, an amount of time one admissions director calls insufficient for achieving anything of value. "It's a real shame," said one high-school junior. "I feel it's what I've prepared the most for."