The SATs: Are they worth the time?

Taking standardized tests has become a rite of passage for high school students. Many students question whether or not the SAT’s or ACT’s are really worth taking.

By Samantha Bailey-Loomis Hundreds of students showed up at Branford High School recently to take the SATs, a ritual repeated all across the country for countless f high school students. However, with many colleges viewing the test as optional for admission, many students question whether or not the SAT’s or ACT’s are really worth taking. The SAT, Scholastic Assessment Test, consists of 4 sections: critical reading, math, writing, and unscored. Testing usually takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes, and is scored on a scale from 600-2400. According to Southern Connecticut State University Admissions, the SAT is used as “one factor in determining an applicant’s admission” into most colleges. Schools like Marist, Loyola, Fairfield University, and many more don’t require SAT/ACT scores during the admission process. However, schools like the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University do require them, but within a certain range of scores. To some students this can be an advantage, but to others, a disadvantage. According to the Collegeboard, “many colleges use the SAT for admission, course placement, and to advise students about course selection.” However, if a score isn’t favorable, the College Board says “most colleges consider a student’s best score” on SAT/ACT tests. Multiple scores can be submitted, and, if you wish, no scores have to be entered at all, but the consequence of admission rejection remains. The question is: Can one really account for the intelligence a person has with a simple score from a standardized test? That is for the student and the institution to decide. The guidance office here at Branford High School has services to offer including free SAT courses, information about testing that can be acquired from the guidance counselors, and tips on how and when to submit SAT/ACT scores to colleges. Some students run into the dilemma of being a bad test taker, while others rely on their test scores to get into colleges. At the same time, while putting a great amount of stress on students, it can put an even greater stress on teachers. In an editorial about the effect of standardized testing by Walt Gardner, a blogger for Edweek, he says “the Obama administration is urging states to evaluate teachers in part on their students’ standardized test scores… Chicago teachers strike… it was about the weight given to standardized test scores in evaluating teachers”. Experts on college admissions say it is up to the student whether or not testing is for them, and it is all dependent on their college selection, extracurricular activities, and grades throughout the years. Standardized tests can work for or against you, but it’s up to you to take advantage of them or not. Are the SAT’s or ACT’s worth your time? Well, that’s really all up to you. The next ACT at Branford High School will be given October 27; the SAT on November 3.