South Students Should Study for the SAT, ACT

Anne Keir, Reporter

No senior or junior ever wonders what is an ACT or SAT? But, underclassmen might not be as schooled on the topic. 

The sophomore class of 2025 just received their first glimpse of the joys awaiting them in the next year with the PSAT, which was administered on Oct. 12. However, for the class of 2026 these tests remain a looming wall in the seemingly far future; but they are closer than they may appear.

ACT or American College Test is an achievement test that focuses on school curriculum-based skills, such as English, mathematics, reading skills, and sciences, which is used as part of the college application process. Likewise, the SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test is also used for applications. 

The ACT measures the extent of knowledge obtained by a student during their high school career. While the SAT measures the extent of the student’s learning capacity.

  According to Westerville South Guidance Counselor Jennifer Stovall, “These tests evaluate the reading, writing, and math skills you’ll need in college. So some colleges use scores to place students in classes that are at the right level for them. Scores can also be used to identify students who may benefit from specific advisors or academic college support.”

College is just around the corner for the senior class of 2023 and the junior class, the time for college applications is on the horizon. Students need to be aware of how taking these tests impacts their future. 

Stovall said, Depending on the college, these test scores can identify students for college admissions and scholarships.”  

With the importance of the ACT/SAT in certain college admissions, knowing how to prepare is crucial.  

Westerville Central senior Nolan Piper prepared for his SAT this past summer. “I looked up tips and tricks online for the SAT and used an SAT practice book to prep myself for the test,” he said.

To prepare for these tests, Stovall advised, “Take and successfully pass as many higher-level courses as possible. Take the time to find online practice tests. Take the practice PSAT both sophomore and junior years.”

Time is running out for the senior class, as Stovall said, “Students should have a score to submit no later than October of their senior year.” 

However, for the junior class according to the College Board site, the SAT is administered nationally seven times a year, in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. So opportunities are plentiful for the junior class to get down to business.

With applications in mind and the sand in the hourglass for the senior class running low, prioritizing is important; however, neither test carries more significance than the other.

In fact, Stovall simply remarked, ”No.” 

The SAT and ACT generally cover the same topics. Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based scholarships. Most colleges do not prefer one test over the other. 

The preliminary SAT otherwise known as the PSAT or The National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is to prepare students for the SAT also known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Scores from the PSAT this year will be released on a students AP College board account on Dec. 5-6, 2022.