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The Best Test, ACTs vs. SATs

De Cito Eindtoets Basisonderwijs.
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A term well known to the Staples student body. A term that is dreaded by almost all students. This is the term that can define a students future within a matter of a several months. This term is better known as: standardized tests.

As applications are being filled and college essays are being written, there is an undulating flow of sophomores and juniors communicating with their guidance counselors, just anxious with nerves and excitement about their inception to standardized testing endeavors.

Within the college process at Staples, different forms of standardized testing exude a tremendous amount of pressure on students and parents.

The SAT Reasoning Test and the American College Testing (ACT) are the top two standardized tests that all colleges are willing to accept scores from.

William Plunkett, a guidance counselor at Staples, feels that the biggest difference between the two tests is the content.

“The types of questions tend to be a different on the tests. A lot of people think the ACT as being more curriculum and content based, which means it’s more similar to questions you are asked on a day to day basis in your classroom,” Plunkett said.

“SAT is more reasoning based, and is testing your ability to think about the content in a more general sense,”

Many students have mixed feelings about the tests, claiming that one test is helpful to everyone. However Michelle Elsas ’12 feels strongly about the ACT being beneficial for her but not everyone else.

“In general, I don’t think that the ACT is more effective necessarily for everyone, but for me personally, I like it a lot more. It really all depends on someone’s personal preference,” Elsas said.

Elsas also said the format of the ACT was a big part of her decision in choosing the which standardized test she would take.

“In the ACT, the different sections were all given in one block of time, as opposed to the SAT, where the different subjects are broken up sporadically,” Elsas said.

Some students will avoid either of the tests all together because it may contain a section of a subject that they are not confident in. Ryan Burke ’11 avoided the ACT because it knew it would not be testing his greatest strengths.

“I took the SAT because it doesn’t have a science section,” Burke said.

Despite the importance that is credited to these standardized tests, there are many schools that choose to not recognize standardized testing as the best reflection of a student. To learn more about the schools who do not mandate standardized test scores, visit


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    drunkSeniorMay 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Wow, this article has gone viral all over the web. There’s 419 mentions of this article on the web so far, and it was trending on Twitter.