ACT/SAT: How important is it really?

These standardized test can be at ticket to college for many.


Photo by: Tia Roberts

Sophomores Kim Le and Paulina Brizuela study for the PSAT.

Tia Roberts, Staff Reporter

During junior year and at the beginning of sophomore year, high school students can start taking the SAT and ACT to see their college readiness as well as which area they need improvement on. Although the test is challenging many still take it for the opportunities it holds.
The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and ACT (American College Testing) are both standardized tests that measure a student’s skills and capabilities academically. The ACT is a college entrance exam that test students in five core subjects: math, English, reading, science, and writing (optional). On the other hand, the SAT is also used for college admissions and consists of identical test sections as the SAT, except SAT doesn’t have a science section, according to websites Studypoint and Princeton Review.

Students can prepare for both the ACT and SAT; the school provides prep classes as listed in CFISD curriculum and course description booklet. Students can also find free practice test online for both exams. Bookstores sale a wide range of test prep books for the standardized tests.

But some students, like junior Evin Youm who is currently taking six AP courses and is on the wrestling team, are taking a cheaper alternative DIY route for their test preparation.

“I thought it would be better to prepare by myself and spend less money,” Youm said.

Junior Samantha Holcomb believes it is better to study ahead of time for yourself before doing the test because in that way you can answer questions quicker.

“I studied and mostly did my vocabulary words and tried to read more stories to have a better understanding of passages,” Holcomb said.

For sophomore Anisha Patel, she took the practice SAT and studied the sections she needed the most, and found the SAT easier.
“I didn’t take any ACT prep classes, but I took SAT and I felt prepared because they give you little tips of how to take the test, cause it’s all made in a certain way and they write a lot of questions the same way,” Patel said.

Photo by: Tia Roberts

Sophomore Jonathan Cox prepares for the SAT and ACT ahead of time with Kim and Brizuela.Some of the benefits of taking the ACT/SAT are that they can connect students to scholarship opportunities by the use of National Merit Scholarship Program as listed in the website College Board. In addition, it also opens the doors for college opportunities because SAT is an admission test accepted by every U.S. college. Income-eligible SAT takers can receive college application fee waivers and more.

A perfect score a student can get on an ACT is 36 while on the SAT 1600 would be the maximum, as listed on the website CFISD web page.

“For the SAT, I think a 1350 or 1400 would be a better score because it shows you got more than half the questions right in each section and for ACT a 24 or 26 because that’s where a lot of honors want,” Patel said.

Although both of the ACT and SAT holds many college and university opportunities, it also puts a pressure on students that are aiming for a high level of education, as Patel claims.
“A lot of students have pressure because they feel like it’s the only way to earn scholarships and its the only way to get into a good college,” Patel said. “But grades, GPA, extracurricular activities and volunteering all play a factor in it. It’s really difficult for many students to understand that there are other ways to get into colleges and program instead of just an ACT and SAT scores.