The Tedious Tests Are Necessary.

ACT and SAT are the most effective way to compare students but don’t test intelligence.


All over the country, students dread taking the ACT or SAT, but it is necessary to get into almost every college.

Allie Dierks, A&E Editor

When asked if SAT scores define intelligence, Brian Greene, a theoretical physicist told Deborah Solomon of New York Times Magazine, “No, they define the capacity to answer questions on an SAT test.” However, people’s lives revolve around getting a good score on standardized tests, because they really can define a life. Getting a good score on standardized test results in getting admitted into a good university, which can lead to getting a good job, and being successful.

According to the Educational Planner website, “the ACT test measures what a student already knows. It covers material that the student should have learned during high school,” while the SAT test “is used more as a predictor of what a student is capable of learning. It deals with material that the student may not have learned in high school.” Both the ACT and SAT websites actually claim the tests aren’t testing intelligence. Instead, they are predicting a student’s success in college and according to the ACT website, “these tests are designed to measure skills that are most important for success in postsecondary education and that are acquired in secondary education.”

However, these tests are a good way to put all students on the same playing level. It is an easy, consistent measure of students all over the country and research has shown they do measure success fairly accurately. According to a study at the University of Minnesota, researchers have found that “SAT performance is as good of a predictor of overall college grade point average as it is of freshman grade point average.”. Another study at Vanderbilt University, shows that “the SAT predicts life outcomes well beyond the college years, including income and occupational achievements,” as well.  

Another controversial subject towards the tests is how to prepare for them self-guided books are sold to help prepare, but sometimes it is hard to study outside of a classroom environment. Companies such as Get Smarter Prep have formed to teach students how to manipulate the test to get the most answers correct instead of teaching the material that is covered on the test. This just proves this is no longer a test of knowledge, it is a test of strategy.

Not only is the test not testing your intelligence, but to get the good score needed to get into good universities, these companies can charge insane amounts of money, so it is also testing your family’s wealth. For 20 hours of private tutoring, Get Smarter Prep costs $2,500. Many families don’t have the luxury of spending that much money toward tutoring, which puts those families at a disadvantage to the other students and then colleges are missing out on very intelligent students because their test scores can’t compare to those that have tutoring three times a week and take a test prep class.

Because opinions differ so much on how effective the test actually is, more and more schools are becoming what is known as “test optional.” Colleges like University of Chicago, Wake Forest University, and next year Creighton University don’t require a test score in their admissions process. During these school’s admissions process, the schools look at high school grade point averages and involvement instead. As time goes on, more schools will join this list and the weight on an ACT or SAT score won’t be as high. However, for now, these tests are the easiest and most efficient way to compare all the students around the country.