Two tests are too many

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Caeden Babcock

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January 21, 2020
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Two tests are too many

Studying for standardized tests is the worst. Having just one test would make things a lot simpler.

Studying for standardized tests is the worst. Having just one test would make things a lot simpler.

Photo by Caeden Babcock

Studying for standardized tests is the worst. Having just one test would make things a lot simpler.

Photo by Caeden Babcock

Photo by Caeden Babcock

Studying for standardized tests is the worst. Having just one test would make things a lot simpler.

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When it comes to measuring college readiness, there are two standardized tests: the SAT and the ACT. Why though? Many questions arise over the existence of two tests and whether or not they’re both necessary. The answer is no—having two standardized tests just creates an unnecessary hassle.

The SAT focuses on logic and reasoning over content, whereas the ACT is more content-based and is shorter. People who are good at mind puzzles and can exploit patterns tend to do the best on the SAT. The SAT requires students to have a larger vocabulary and do math without a calculator. The ACT has more advanced math problems and has questions regarding science, but allows a calculator for the entire test.

Students who apply to prestigious colleges often take both tests in hopes that they will have two good test scores to boast instead of one. Colleges don’t require two scores, but students usually submit both anyway. But with two tests comes double the studying time, money, materials and tutoring.
It is completely pointless to have two tests when all it does is force students to put in twice the effort and money to look good for colleges. Lower-income students have trouble getting into prestigious colleges because they can’t afford to prepare for both tests in order to get two good scores.
So how do we fix this? We eliminate one of the tests. Then which do we remove? Which is more valuable to students?

Keeping the SAT makes sense. There are already tons of free practice tests administered to students and free study materials are more easily available. Most of us are more familiar with the SAT than the ACT. But a lot of students still prefer the ACT because it relies less on puzzle-solving and deciphering tricky question wordings. There are no loopholes to exploit or patterns to decipher. The only thing required is knowledge.

But what if a completely new test were made? A new test that included the best of both skill sets. One that could simulate in equal parts both the SAT and ACT. Students need to have both skills for college anyway, so why not test for both? It would require less studying time and money than preparing for multiple tests. And when the scores are returned, everybody is on the same scoring scale making it easier for colleges to compare. Having just one standardized test that high school students across the country take is a much more logical approach.

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