The ACT and SAT: The Two Scariest's Acronyms You Will Ever Hear As A Highschool Student
As second semester begins, some Juniors have already taken or are starting to hear about arguably one of the most stressful acronyms, the SAT and ACT tests.
“Why are they important? I don’t know,” said counselor Hal Burns.
The ACT and SAT test mathematics, english, reading comprehension, and the ACT has an extra science section. However, Mr. Burns and other students aren’t convinced that the tests accurately measure intellectual growth.
“They test memorization as opposed to actual intelligence,” sophomore, Logan Melton said.
Although the tests give information to colleges about whether or not you are prepared, they aren’t focused toward individual strengths. Instead, it’s geared towards those whose strengths are memorization and test taking abilities.
“I like to think I’m pretty creative and a good writer but just asking me grammar questions and how to fix a sentence isn’t showing what I know. It’s just showing superficial stuff,” junior, Alex Burger said.
However, the tests are intended to give information about a student’s college readiness.
The country’s average SAT score from the upperclassmen who took the test in March 2016 was a 1080 and the average ACT score was a 25 according to Princeton Review. However, everyone has a different goal and their minds work differently, so comparing scores between friends does more harm than good.
“I think [good scores] mean getting into a good school and showing schools that I am worth spending time on,” said sophomore Camille Lamarque.
More colleges are starting to gear their focus away from the tests and towards extracurriculars, advanced classes and GPA. Fairtest.org lists 925 test-optional schools (don’t require tests) in the United States.
“The most important parameter for you being successful in college is what you do right here in this school,” said Burns. “If you do solid work here, you will be successful in college.”
Even if the tests are becoming less of a determining factor for colleges, then why are students still stressed? Maybe because they feel the pressure to do their absolute best- even if it means late nights of studying, melodramatic meltdowns and spending an excessive amount of money on tutors or other programs.
“I feel like there is a lot of pressure put on us to get good scores on these tests,” Burger said.
To prepare for the tests, Burns suggests to familiarize yourself with the material and take practice tests.
“We got some books in the college career center,” said Burns. “Sit down, time yourself, and get a feel for how much time you have and what you can do.”
Depending on the price limit, some spend hundreds of dollars on tutoring, and others use free online programs, such as Khan Academy, which is recommended by the school’s counselors.
“I’m not a big fan of standardized testing. I think it’s kind of a scam. They make a lot of money off these tests,” Burns said.
The mentality revolved around these tests is very different from when Mr. Burns was in high school.
“When I took it, we didn’t have any of these books… my counselor said, ‘ok, we got the SAT next week.’ We didn't know what it looked like or the whole situation,” Burns said.
There are ways to manage the stress revolved around the ACTs and SATs. Most importantly, having a positive attitude going into the test never hurts.
“Take three deep breaths,” Burns said. “Some people get really stressed out about these tests and I think you can do alright, it’s just going over the stuff you learned over the last eleven years.”
When you put it like that...
2017 ACT dates: February 11th, April 8th, and June 10th. The SATs are
2017 SAT dates: January 21st, March 11th, May 6th, June 3rd.
More information about registration is on the counseling website. Good luck:)