Should SATs Matter?

A growing number of colleges are spurning a test that has measured and mortified Americans for 75 years. But what are the alternatives?

For the past two weeks, TIME has been asking famous and accomplished people to tell us their SAT scores. Most of them declined--which is a little strange, since the big bad test couldn't possibly hurt Alan Greenspan or Oprah Winfrey. But the SAT occupies a central place in the American psyche, lying at the terrifying intersection of ability, class and pride. As TV's Conan O'Brien put it, "It has taken 20 years to forget the trauma of that damned test, and looking up my scores would be like going back to Vietnam."

The test's prominence ensures that shouting matches will erupt...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!