By Amber Bartley and Haley Palmer
With the standardized college admissions tests approaching, students are discovering more about which test is best for their abilities
According to the ACT student website, the ACT consists of four tests and an optional writing portion: English, mathematics, reading, and science. It differs from the SAT, which does not include science. The English test measures standard written English and rhetorical skills and the mathematics test measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of senior year. The reading test measures reading comprehension and the science test measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The optional writing portion measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.
Due to the differences in the standardized tests, counselor Mark Clark recommends that students submit his or her most competitive score as colleges will accept either SAT or ACT scores.
“Do your research, do some online preparation, and find out what the tests are like, and I would suggest taking both exams and then whichever exam you do the best on might be the one that I would take again. Just prepare, take as rigorous courses as they can in high school, especially as a junior and a senior so they are prepared for both exams,” said Clark.
In recent years, college admissions faculty have noticed a growing trend of the amount of students taking the ACT in comparison to the amount of students that take the SAT.
“We’ve seen more students in Indiana for example taking the ACT, whereas in the past, Indiana was mostly an SAT state. Most students in Kentucky take the ACT, but we’re seeing that change a little bit in that more of our Indiana students are taking the ACT,” said Director of Recruitment and Admissions at Indiana University Southeast Chris Crews.
According to Crews, colleges are moving towards admittance procedures that rely less on ACT or SAT scores. Crews also said that IUS won’t be altering admissions to fit the redesign.
“I think that the SAT, really standardized tests in general, have been scrutinized for several years in terms of their usefulness regarding college admission, and that’s why we’ve sort of taken a more liberal view of it. We know that it may not be a good indicator all the time of where students are academically, so that’s why we really have tried to temper our use of the SAT,” said Crews.
Having experience with both the SAT and ACT, senior Alec Heitz recommends using caution with the adapted SAT and has doubts about anticipating what is on the test before the initial release.
“Even though the the SAT in 2016 seems easier than the current, I would stick with the ACT until it’s been well tested. It could be much more difficult than anticipated, and we can’t know for certain until it has been administered,” said Heitz.
Crews also stated that IUS has already made progress in limiting the involvement of standardized test scores during the application process.
“There are a lot of colleges that are moving to a system by which they don’t require a SAT or ACT. I think for us we’ve taken a good intermediate step in saying that we still require it, it’s a good thing for students to do, but the wait that we’re putting into it is tempered a little bit with factors like curriculum and GPA to find a more holistic view of where students are at academically,” said Crews.