Juniors Contend With Dreaded SATs and ACTs


Nicole Spektor

Testing Blues: North Atlanta juniors prepare to take the SAT and ACT in order to prepare for college applications.

Entering a junior year means a lot of things for 16 and 17 year-olds: the start of college searching, a transition into upperclassmen life and, most importantly, SAT and ACT testing for juniors from all schools. The SAT and ACT are standardized tests required by most universities in the United States for admission and scholarship purposes, meaning students who are looking to apply to college must face these daunting exams starting in junior year.

The decision on which test to take is not one to be taken lightly. Juniors choose between the ACT or SAT based on their strengths and weaknesses when testing. A student may take the SAT because they feel that math and reading are their strengths, whereas someone else may try the ACT because they are a fast-thinker and can answer questions based on inferences. Many students take both tests to increase their odds of doing well. “I originally scored better on my SAT than my ACT when taking the mock exam but I still decided to test and study for both,” said junior Shelby Dwyer.

As if being a junior at North Atlanta isn’t stressful enough with AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment classes, preparing for and taking the SAT and ACT is just another tedious task on the “Junior To-Do List.” In order to prepare themselves for the difficult tests, some students study from helpful handbooks and some even pay for valuable tutoring sessions, both of which require a great deal of dedication to produce results. “I chose to work with a tutor, which has really benefited me and made a positive impact on my score,” said junior Jessica Stevens. “But it is hard making time for tutoring when I have so many other other things to do between extracurriculars and school work.”

Even though the ACT and SAT are meant to indicate academic ability, even some students with good academic standing don’t do well on the SAT or ACT, resulting in them not getting into their top school. “I always worked really hard in school and got good grades,” said senior Antonio Prioleau. “But, when junior year came, my low test scores prevented me from getting into the Ivy Leagues that I applied to. It really broke my heart because I knew these scores were not reflecting me as a student.”

While the stress that comes with the SAT and ACT is high, unfortunately, it isn’t going away anytime soon. No matter how you test, taking these tests is usually a requirement to get into college, so it’s important that everyone does their best on the exams. That being said, always remember that it’s just a number on a piece of paper, and you have time to make it the best it can be.