Few letters strung together like “SAT” or “ACT” can conjure up as much fear, anxiety, and dread in a student as these! Students hear the hype about college admissions and think that their very future depends on their SAT or ACT score. In some ways, they are right – but in other ways they are very wrong.
When applying to highly or very selective colleges, the SAT or ACT score is one of several critically important factors in the admissions process. If this is the goal, then yes, every point might count. Yet many other highly selective colleges and universities have gone “test optional” and no longer require standardized testing at all. Still other less selective colleges and universities do not require scores that reach the stratosphere, and will look at a student for his/her potential and motivation to learn more than they look at the test score. The standardized test score is just one component of what colleges are looking for.
So when it comes to SAT and ACT prep, is it worth the time and money? It depends. The College Board, creator of the SAT, stated that test preparation will not dramatically raise scores, and the Princeton Review has been pressured by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to drop the claim that their “Ultimate Classroom” SAT prep class will be able to raise scores by 255 points.
What is a student and parent supposed to think with this kind of information? Does this mean it’s just not worth the time and money to even try to prepare? I personally think that yes, a student should prepare for these standardized tests, and that they should take them.