Flaws With the ACT/SAT


You’re not alone if you are one of the many struggling to prepare for the ACT/SAT. Many students every year find it difficult to achieve their goal score in the first couple of tries of taking the ACT/SAT. Continue reading this article if you are interested in why this is an unfair expectation pushed on students.

If you are a high school student, you know of the nightmare of preparing to take the ACT or SAT. If you don’t know, the ACT and SAT are both standardized tests colleges require applicants to take to be considered acceptance into their university. 

Preparing to take these tests is a horrible experience mainly because of the financial cost associated with tutoring, the amount of time it takes to prepare, and the workload it entails. 

First is the financial burden. Most people hire a tutor to help them familiarize themselves with the test’s structure and the questions that will be asked. Personally, my tutor is $250 per week, and I have been preparing for a little less than a year. Even if you don’t have a tutor and are self-taught, you still need supplies such as an ACT/SAT book, scantrons to put answers on, and worksheets to practice the topics on the test. It is also frustrating to know that a large amount of money is going into this process for a test that is only meant for colleges to make a decision about your acceptance. 

Second, the amount of time it takes from the start of studying to achieve the score you need to get accepted into colleges. As I stated before, I have been preparing for the ACT for a little less than a year, and I still don’t have the score I want. Also, it can be very time-consuming and discouraging at times because you don’t always see your hard work paying off. Furthermore, it is challenging to juggle schoolwork and ACT/SAT work; you must learn time management skills early on in the process. Senior Eleanor Kim adds, “Preparing for the ACT is a pain. I only studied for the math section, and I barely did that. Finding time to sit down and was study was one of the hardest parts of the process.” 

Third is the workload it entails. I spend a minimum of 9 hours a week taking ACTs, completing packets on topics on the test, and memorizing formulas for the math section. As previously stated, one of the most challenging parts is doing both school and ACT/SAT work every night. Preparing for the test and still doing homework assigned by your teachers is a struggle because sometimes you don’t have enough time to do both with an adequate amount of effort. 

Aside from these main flaws with the ACT/SAT, the overall purpose of taking them is also defective. The reason colleges want us to take these tests is so we can be compared to one another and see how much we know/ have learned from our schooling so far; however, we are all different, and it could be considered unjust to compare us to one another. For example, I am a straight-A student, but a bad test taker, meaning my test score will not reflect my actual knowledge. It also goes the other way; someone can be a fantastic test taker but a poor student, which will affect how colleges view them as an applicant. 

Furthermore, the fact that colleges make the system so that one test determines your whole future is wrong. The amount of stress it puts on students to succeed is dangerous and unnecessary. Why can’t universities make acceptance based on grades, extracurriculars, clubs, and service hours? Those are plenty of topics to be judged on. Why add a 4-hour test on top of it? 

Overall, there is no question that requiring students to take the ACT/SAT to get accepted into colleges is a flawed idea. I’m just wondering how long it will take universities to realize this. 

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