In My Opinion

Testing, testing – is there an SAT coach in the house?

January 18, 2014 

Just a year ago, I’d never even heard of something called an “SAT coach” and this week, well, I hired one.

Such is the power of peer pressure, middle-age mommy style. All of a sudden, every time I was around other parents of high school juniors – whether it was a ballgame, a dinner party or just making small talk at the grocery store, the talk turned to the SAT, which stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test or, remembering my own lackluster test scores, Stupid Algebra Tricks.

And then, after discussing upcoming testing dates and locations, the mommy voices would lower to a near-whisper.

“Have you hired your coach yet?”

The first time I heard this I nearly choked on the artichoke dip I had been thoroughly enjoying.

“Huh? Nah. The Princess doesn’t play any sports.”

“Not sports! An SAT coach, silly!”

“Do what?”

I don’t remember the SAT being that big a deal back in the Black Sabbath days. You took it one time, you hoped it wasn’t a disaster and then you found out you were pregnant, got married and never thought about it again.

OK, maybe that was just my high school.

But a lot has happened since then. The SAT has spiffed up its image considerably. Just to sign up the Princess to take the test had me in tears. There were so many questions. And I had to upload a digital photo for her admission ticket, which I had no idea how to do. The Princess did that part but took way too long to find a picture of herself that she liked.

“It doesn’t matter!” I finally screamed. “The College Board doesn’t care if your messy bun looks too messy. Just pick one already!”

Signing up to take the test took an entire evening. When I finally hit the “SUBMIT” button I felt like I should take a “Rocky” style victory jog around the house. Fortunately the mood passed and I had a beer instead. Good call.

And then, not more than a week later, the SAT coach talk started up.

“Have you got one yet?” I was asked by a friend.

“Yeah, it’s called ALL HER TEACHERS.”

But, after a while, I started to fret. The mommies are very clued in to these things. One had prepared a flow chart demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of the various local coaches.

Another mommy pulled me into a coat closet at a New Year’s party and whipped out a coach’s private number stored in her cell phone.

“Here you go,” she said. “Happy New Year!”

“But I’ve read somewhere that it may not even help that much,” I said lamely. “Why do parents have to micromanage everything?”

“My kid’s score went up 200 points,” she said, opening the closet door and booting me out, clearly regretting her decision to share. “Do what you think is best.”

Me? I have no idea. But the mommies have never steered me wrong. Coach starts in six weeks. I’m chilling the Gatorade.

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