Is Taking College Exams Worth It?


Dennis Racket

Acing the ACT: Junior Anna Greer studies for her upcoming SAT and ACT tests.

Come spring semesters, students everywhere feel the collective strain of end-of-grade exams such as the Georgia Milestones and EOCs. While such tests are deemed necessary, they tend to be tedious and stress-inducing. The pandemic has influenced opinions about a specific section of standardized exams: college entry tests, or primarily the SAT and ACT. As the coronavirus made in-person tests difficult to take, some colleges dropped SAT/ACT test requirements, which caused many students to begin considering if it’s worth going through the trying experience of preparing for these tests. 

These college entrance exams are big names for upperclassmen, and most colleges only accept students if they take either of these tests. But the main questions, such as “Why should I take the SAT or ACT?” and “Do I REALLY have to take one of them?”, are things North Atlanta juniors have asked themselves in the past, and maybe even now.

As a student who recently took the SAT, junior Annie Kim feels that this exam is very helpful in reassuring a student on what they know and how they can improve. Since the SAT can be taken multiple times and you can choose your best score, there are no constraints pre-exam besides your own willingness to study. “I like seeing where my academic level stands,” she said. “But I don’t think it’s right for colleges to use this to determine the grasp we have on subjects we may not always use in the future.”

Other North students have rather negative opinions about college testing, with junior Amelia McClure expressing discontent with the way the admissions system operates. Like Kim, she disagrees with having to pay for a test that only demonstrates a fraction of one’s abilities. “Not everyone is good with timed tests,” said McClure. “Students with learning disabilities, especially those who’re undiagnosed, definitely have it rougher than a greater part of the student population when it comes to exams like these.”

While taking the SAT may not be exactly necessary in life, if you plan on attending college, these standardized tests, while grueling, open up many opportunities for students that range from scholarship money to financial aid. With a well-established action plan, proper guidance, and using accessible resources– like Khan Academy and the College Board website– a good SAT or ACT score is not impossible to obtain. If you put in the dedication and effort, you will yield good results.