Standardized Showdown

Haley Archer, Senior Writer

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You may open your test booklets. Your time starts now.” There’s a rustle of paper and shifting of chairs, pencils scratching nervously across bubble sheets, and fingers tapping on the tabletop. The scene is everywhere in American high schools: this is the standardized test.
The SAT was created in 1926 to screen US Army recruits before it was cleared for use by college applicants. The ACT test followed in 1959, offering a wider range of questions at the time and extending testing beyond just university hopefuls. Today, the tests are seen mostly as equals, and it is generally up to the student to determine which to take. Picking the right test can be difficult.
Senior Elaine Kooiker researched the tests for hours before she made her choice. Kooiker had originally wanted to take both tests but later decided against it.
“I realized it would make more sense to study for one type of exam and just get good at taking that one. I didn’t need to learn testing strategies for both tests,” Kooiker said. She ultimately decided to take the ACT, using online study guides with questions drawn from old ACT exams to best prepare herself. Her top tip?
“If you’re taking the ACT, get familiar with the format, and make sure to review the science questions beforehand. You’ll be a lot less nervous and the test will go smoothly that way,” she said.
But there’s a lot to be said for the SAT. Liberty students prepare more in-depth for this exam, taking the Pre-SAT test during both sophomore and junior years.
Ultimately, both tests offer a good way to “get the numbers” colleges and trade schools request. But if something doesn’t go your way? Don’t sweat it. According to Kooiker, “Retake the test!”