How I Learned to Take the SAT Like a Rich Kid

“I was happy to be around so many fellow nerds. Still, they approached studying for the SAT with a near-professional intensity that was alien to me.

I realized that they didn’t just want to score exceptionally well on the SAT. They were gunning for a score on the Preliminary SAT exams that would put them in the top percentile of students in the United States and make them National Merit Scholars in the fall.
It was disconcerting. The majority of low- and middle-income 11th graders I know in Michigan didn’t even sit for the preliminary exams. Most took the SAT cold. Few were privy to the upper-middle-class secret I discovered that summer: To get into elite colleges, one must train for standardized tests with the intensity of an athlete.”

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