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meagan's avatar

Any "adult learners" have to take the SAT?

Asked by meagan (4640 points ) February 2nd, 2010

I’ve got to take my state’s test for college scores (the ACT here) but most take the SAT.

Do any “adult learners” (i.e, people that have graduated from High School years ago..) have experience with taking these tests years later?
Most of the tests I’ve found are held at local High Schools.

I’m particularly anxious about taking a test with a lot of teenagers. Its a silly thing to be having anxiety about, but none the less…

Can I get any helpful tips for Adults that have taken these tests years after HS? Maybe even some tips about going to college and not being 18? ;)

(By the way, what did most of you major & minor in? I’m interested in majoring in psych. and minoring in French.
Did you find that your majors weren’t very useful?)

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5 Answers

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

You will do all right on the verbal sections if you haven’t forgotten how to pick up a book or a newspaper. The math is where most people trip up.

I have not taken an SAT since high school, back when it was done in cuneiform, but I did have to take the Illinois Basic Skills test for teachers, which is very similar in form and content. There is a verbal section, a math section, and a writing exam. I did fine on the math, but I’m an engineer and I work with it daily. When people have to repeat the IBS test, it’s almost invariably because of the math, and all of the prep courses you can sign up for emphasize it.

Don’t worry about being in college as an older student. There are lots of people who do that. The young people will want to know you, and they will not look down on you in any way. What you major in depends on what your goal is. If you mean to improve your employment prospects, a liberal arts degree will probably be less helpful to you than something more focused, e.g., in technology or business, but it will open more doors than you think.

Jeruba's avatar

I am currently enrolled in a community college after having received my BA years ago. I’m taking a class just for the fun of it and plan to take more. I wondered what my reception would be like amongst youngsters—and, as it turns out, an instructor who is less than half my age. It doesn’t seem to be a problem. When I was an undergraduate, there were always one or two older students whom we scowled at because they “had nothing to do but study” (as if adults were free of responsibilities such as the young ones were shouldering) and “ruined the curve.” Now that’s me, and I don’t care.

I enjoy being among the kids, all of whom are younger than my own children, and they are curious about me and treat me pleasantly, but I don’t imagine that I’m one of them.

I didn’t have to take any tests, so I’m responding to the part of your question that is simply about being an older student. The word is: so what? Go for it.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I didn’t have to take the tests either, having already taken the SATs back in the Bronze Age (1970). I left a half-completed doctorate in history for a military career in the late 70s and am now returning to my alma mater to complete the work. I have not yet encountered the classroom, but my thesis advisor is about half my age.

A major portion of my incomplete thesis has been rendered irrelevant by events of the past 30 years. I’m required to complete several courses that did not exist then and are now prerequisites. I also have to come up to speed on computer use, a thing that I either ignored of delegated to juniors for the past 20+ years (learning things that any reasonably intelligent 10 year old now takes for granted).

I’m going to have to re-learn how to keep my mouth shut and be respectful to people that I would have vastly outranked in my previous profession. To my relief I find that I am not nearly the oldest student at the college; there are undergrads in their 70s and another doctoral candidate in my department is ten years older than I.

There are cultural difference. Entering a room not expecting people to stand at attention. Learning to address people by name rather than rank, ad nauseum…

This will be an adventure, at least doing something beyond chopping firewood and collecting a pension. I’m doing it more as a memorial to my late wife who would have completed her doctorate in psychology this year. About a 3–4 year journey, I haven’t a clue what, if anything, I’ll do with the degree. The process of earning it will maintain my sanity, an end in itself.

Good luck on your journey, keep your eyes on the goal and don’t be intimidated.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Spend some time talking to:
1) Admissions counselors and
2) The head of the department you intend to join
before taking any tests. These tests serve to help sort the vast hordes of students applying straight out of high school, and can be easily waived by admissions counselors or department heads for an adult learner. Similarly I earned a Master’s and a doctorate at Ivy League level schools without ever having taken the GRE that both said was required. When you have alternative things to show, such as a decade of success in industry, they no longer have to wonder if you can handle psychology 101.

xena154's avatar

I decided to go to college after a decade. I just took the ACT, having taken the SAT when I was in high school. While I did get some interesting looks from the 17 year olds, the hardest part was remembering the math for the test. I spent the three months before the test teaching myself Algebra 2, Trig., and Pre-Calc. Being well prepared helped lessen my anxiety at have to sit in a high school class room filling in bubbles on an answer sheet.

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