SAT and ACT – what’s the big deal?

Julianna Catena– Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – That anxious time of the year keeps popping up into juniors and seniors’ heads – the time to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) exam. It might be a nightare for some students, but all Mustangs must understand, “Why is taking the SAT and ACT so important?”

Mustangs Ahead asked LRHS’ college and career advisor Michelle Todoroff why it is important to take these exams.

Mustangs Ahead (MA): Why are the tests so important?

Todoroff: Because you need them to get into college!

MA: Why should students take the tests so seriously?

Todoroff: Because, again, you need them to get into college! Unfortunately, our state universities get 30,000 applicants, so it comes down to numbers. It comes down to test scores and GPA, sadly enough.

MA: So, how many people, from the 30,000, get in per year?

Todoroff: It all depends on the university. Our large universities accept 6,000 students a year, approximately, as their freshman class. So, the college evaluation process primarily focuses on test scores, GPA, and course schedules. They do look at course schedules to make sure students are taking rigorous college preparatory classes.

MA: Should students start testing early?

Todoroff: Yes! Because they are so important for admissions. Most students do not rock the test the first time they take it. The average student takes three times on the test to get the score that they want to get into the college they’re looking to get into. So, the ideal testing timeline: start early your junior year! I recommend students take both the SAT and the ACT at the beginning of their junior year, get a score back, see how well they did on each test, and find the test they did better on. I have concordant scores on the website under ‘career and college’ where they can check the different scoring. Just concentrate on the test, you only need from either an SAT or an ACT to get in, you don’t need both.

MA: But, if you take a certain number of tests, do they add them all and divide it and get your ultimate score?

Todoroff: Well, there is something called a super score. All of our state schools, and most of the schools around the country will super score an SAT. Only a handful of schools will super score the ACT. So, that’s why if you take it numerous times, they could take the best sub-score from each section. There are only two sections now on the SAT, but they can take the best sub-score and make your overall super score. Bright Futures also super scores for the SAT, as well as the ACT. That’s why students need to take the test multiple times. I have never met a student who took the test once and rocked it the first time. It’s all about preparation.

MA: Is there anything else students should know?

Todoroff: None of our state schools require writing sections for either the SAT or the ACT. Very few schools throughout the country are now requiring writing, so if a student is looking at applying at a select private school, or out of state school, they need to first check the website to see if the writing section is required. If they are just applying to state schools they don’t need to take it.

For the next opportunity to take the ACT, you must register by Nov. 3, as the test date is on Dec. 9. Register at www.ACTStudent.org for $42.50 with LRHS Code: 100162

For the next opportunity to take the SAT, you must register by Nov. 2, as the test date it on Dec. 2. Register at www.CollegeBoard.com for $45.00 with LRHS Code: 100162