Are you college ready?

January 25, 2017


The SAT and the ACT are two very important tests for high school students. Both tests are focused on the taker's ability to problem solve, general thinking abilities and overall college readiness (or ability to “complete college-level work”). These tests can cause lots of stress due to pressure to perform well in order to get into good colleges and possibly receive scholarships.


These two standardized tests are meant to test your ability for college level classes. But who decides what is considered “college ready”? I believe the only true way to test for college-readiness are AP classes. Advanced placement courses are designed as college classes and if the exam is passed (scoring of at least a three) the student receives college credit. 


Standardized testing has gotten to the point that students take classes in order to receive high scores. Classes teach students how to take the tests, manage the time crunch and the best methods of guessing.


I don’t think these tests are a fair way to judge how well a student will supposedly do in college because it is not based on the knowledge of the material but based on how well the student knows how to take the test.

The SAT has three sections: math, reading and writing. In the last year, the SAT made some major changes to the test to be much closer to the ACT. Originally the SAT was out of 2400 and is now out of 1600. The points are now counted by every question correctly answered rather than docking off the questions answered wrong making guessing in your favor (much like the ACT).


The ACT has five sections total (the fifth is optional): English, math, reading, science and the optional writing. The test is out of 36 points on a standardized bell curve and incorrect answers are not counted rather than taken off.


The math on both the ACT and SAT are mostly simple equations that have been learned in school. The ACT covers up to Algebra II and the SAT is mostly algebra based with more “real life” problems. The time crunch for both tests makes it very difficult to score well.


For the reading section on both tests, the majority of the answers are embedded somewhere in the passage;it is just a matter of knowing where to look or having a strong understanding of the passage before or while answering the questions in the short amount of time.


Science on the ACT is all about analyzing graphs and passages. Every answer is somewhere hidden in the passage, it is just a matter of finding it in the time crunch.


So obviously, there is a pattern. These tests are not about studying or how much knowledge the student has on the subject; it is simply about how the test is taken. What I don’t understand is how that proves college readiness.


To compare these tests to AP tests is simple: all of the material on the AP exam is learned throughout the course of the year, and the end exam is meant to test what the student learned. This is how college is, therefore testing a high schoolers readiness.

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