top of page

SAT & ACT: It’s Not the Content, It’s the Process

Most tests in school are content-based: vocabulary memorization, chapter reviews, math problem sets, comprehensive exams, etc. 

After years of content-based tests, students learn how to memorize facts and regurgitate them on an exam. Students develop keen ways of cramming content the night before in order to succeed on a test. 

Content learning is a useful skill in school, for now. Education is undergoing a massive shift as content is simply a search engine or finger swipe away. Students in the future will likely not have to memorize as much. Instead, they will be faced with the process of learning. 

One such learning process is how to succeed on the SAT or ACT. 

On the surface, the SAT and ACT tests look like content-based tests. But dig deeper and find that both tests assess a student’s ability to process more than a student’s ability to memorize. 

For example, the reading tested on the test is about comprehension, not knowledge. Test makers select reading passages that will challenge students to process how a writer uses evidence, states an argument, persuades an audience or tells a story. A student cannot memorize the passage the night before. 

Even math, though seemingly content-based, assesses the process of getting through a litany of different math problems in a defined set of time. Memorizing math content might help here, but it is more about the process of navigating algebra, geometry, word problems, trigonometry and more. Math is a mash up of content which means the process is more important. 

So if the SAT and ACT are more process-based than content-based, how do you perform better? 

Simply embrace the process.

Understand that test success is a journey. It is not something you can cram for the night before. Prepare your game plan, practice and make test prep part of your normal routine

Consider a group class like CROSSWALK’s upcoming Winter Test Prep Series

Above all, approach the SAT and ACT with the process in mind. These are not tests based on strict content memorization. These are tests that take trial and error. 

Start your process today by contacting CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula’s local resource for test prep and academic tutoring. 

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page