Story and graph by Hallie Funk and Gracie Cockerill
It is the time of the year for testing. Students are taking the practice tests and preparing for the dreaded SATs and ACTs.
Last month, the sophomores completed the PSAT, along with some freshmen and juniors. Many students wonder why they have to take these tests. Although they may seem unnecessary, the ACT and SAT are very important for the college admission process, and the PSAT offers scholarship opportunities.
Freshmen in honors classes are encouraged to take the PSAT.
“We push those upper level freshmen to take it because then if your scores are high enough it qualifies you for dual credit,” Sowder said. “Exposure is the greatest thing you can come away with.”
The PSAT includes material and standards that are possible to appear on the SAT, which aids in preparing students for the test. If a freshman is considering taking the PSAT for the benefits of a good score, they should do it. But this material also proves to be more challenging.
If a student does not know whether to take the SAT or ACT, they should take whichever material they are more comfortable with.
“The SAT has longer tests. There’s a reading test and there’s a math test. There’s also a writing portion. The ACT has shorter tests covering more subjects,” said counselor Jessica Simler. Students who are unsure which test to take should take the ACT.
“The ACT is more aligned with here, our students typically do better on the ACT,” Simler said. Similar to the SAT, the ACT also has a pretest, but it is currently not offered.
“That conversation has come up recently as being something we offer since we do offer the ACT,” she said. But even without the practice test, students still have higher scores on the ACT.
“We have to take the SAT and ACT to show colleges what you know. I see the reason for them,” said senior Abby Chovan.
A student’s grade-point average reflects their academic potential, so if their scores are high, there is a greater chance of colleges accepting them. SAT and ACT scores provide colleges a standard way to judge students and indicate whether the students are ready to attend their school.
“So it kind of assigns a number so they know what kind of student they’re getting, but it does not prepare you for college in any way,” said counselor Brittany Eisner.
Currently, these tests are mandatory at high schools and most colleges require test scores, but not all.
“There are some colleges that are moving away from these tests. For example, Ball State doesn’t require you to submit an SAT or ACT score,” said Eisner.
DePaul University and the University of Evansville are some of many colleges that do notrequire these scores.
“That’s why colleges don’t rely just on test scores, they’re looking at the big picture because they understand that every student is different, some students do not test well,” said Sowder.
“I’ve grown up in school where you test to show what you’ve learned, so I think there’s always going to be some kind of standardized test. If we didn’t have it, then it would be a free for all for college and then you’d have kids going to college that weren’t necessarily prepared because they had nothing to gauge where they’re at in their academics. So, I guess I’m saying, yeah, I think it does need to be mandatory,” said Sowder.
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