“Stress is the enemy of test performance” is the mantra my students hear repeatedly. Much of my test prep work is about reducing the stress that surrounds SAT and ACT test day. By familiarizing students with the content and strategy of the tests through practice sessions, the goal is to make test day routine and comfortable.
Along with test practice, students are routinely reminded that there are over 1,000 schools that do not place substantial weight on SAT and ACT scores in the process of admission. Thanks to FairTest, this fact provides great stress relief for students who realize there are many potential college opportunities regardless of test performance. Further, students learn that test scores are just one piece of the pie. Colleges consider GPA, admission essays, interviews, letter of recommendations and more when reviewing applications. So do test scores actually matter? Reality check time: yes, they do. Let’s assume, like most students, you wish to apply to a competitive school. Competitive schools receive many applications. With so many applications, schools need a quick and easy method to identify top prospects. Test scores provide such a method. Schools do not want to discourage applicants. Along with the financial gain of the application fees, schools want as many applications as possible so as to keep their admission rates low. The lower a school’s admission rate, the better its ranking on the US News and World Report list. The better its ranking, the more competitive the school. The more competitive a school, the more applications received. More applications means a lower admission rate and the cycle continues. But admission rate and rankings are not the only reasons schools continue to use test scores in the process of admission. An article from the Wall Street Journal earlier this year cites several researched-backed reasons colleges continue to consider test scores in the process of admission. The reality is that the SAT and ACT, particularly for the more competitive schools, are not going anywhere. So as long as these tests are here to stay, you may as well find ways to navigate the process. Reduce your stress around the testing experience. Familiarize yourself with the content and strategies. And above all, read, read and read some more. CROSSWALK is here to support you in the process. Contact CROSSWALK today and we will be happy to come alongside your journey.