Do the SAT and ACT Still Matter?

For years there have been discussions about the accuracy of the SAT as a measure of students’ abilities to succeed in college. After all, it’s impossible for a single test to show someone’s intelligence, work ethic, talents and interests outside of school. These concerns are part of the reason why other factors like personal essays, extracurricular involvement, and the quality of students’ academic coursework are considered more important than ever. In fact, a small but growing number of colleges are now test-optional, allowing students to apply without submitting scores if they feel that their test results wouldn’t help their application (Fairtest)

Most Universities Still Require SAT/ACT Tests

Unfortunately for these test-averse students, however, most universities still require either the SAT or the ACT. Even test-optional universities tend to favor students with high test scores (The Princeton Review). Large universities view these exams as an easy way to compare tens of thousands of applicants on a level playing field. Further, standardized test scores are a criteria for merit scholarships at most universities and play a large role in determining whether a student will be offered aid (The Princeton Review).

Other Factors Admissions Committees Consider

Of course, standardized tests aren’t the only factor that admissions committees consider when evaluating a student. Students with a demonstrated work ethic, passionate extracurriculars, and a history of solid academic performance will outperform those whose only notable achievement is an excellent SAT score. Attending college info sessions, meeting with representatives, and demonstrating strong interest in a university can also help set a student apart from the crowd. However, performing well on the SAT or ACT is one of the most effective ways to increase a student’s chances of getting accepted into their first choice school.

Strategies to Prepare for the SAT/ACT

One strategy to prepare for the SAT or ACT is to practice the kinds of questions asked on the test to become more familiar with it. Try working for half an hour or more every day in an SAT review book, or using the free online SAT practice available through CollegeBoard’s partnership with Khan Academy

Reviewing the most tested grammar topics and taking some time each week to read newspapers or classic literature are also great ways to improve critical reading and writing test scores.

Ask Us About SAT & ACT Prep Courses

If you’re interested in extra help with SAT or ACT prep, check out our SAT/ACT Prep Course and our SAT/ACT Summer Camp. We are also partnering with the Mathnasium of Wakefield to offer SAT/ACT Math if you’re looking to improve on both subjects.