You Should Take the A.C.T. If…

What young person doesn’t dread the S.A.T.? The mere mention of its name creates anxiety for many, and for better or worse, it can determine who does and does not get into his or her dream school. What’s even worse than the S.A.T., however, is the fact that not everyone realizes that there is an alternative: the A.C.T.

A “well-known secret” long kept by Midwesterners, this college entrance exam is finally catching on among East and West Coasters. In 2012, it overtook the S.A.T. in terms of popularity for the first time ever, and it is set to continue growing its market share. Accepted by all four-year institutions of higher education across the nation, the A.C.T. provides college bound students, who do not necessarily perform well on problem-solving based tests, with a legitimate option to improve their admissions chances.

So who benefits from taking the A.C.T.? Here is a list of 15 different types of student who should consider this alternative to the S.A.T.:

1. Those who are not into logic games or puzzles.
2. Those who are good readers, but do not possess complex lexicons.
3. Those who have taken advanced math classes, such as Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus.
4. Those whom the mere idea of the S.A.T. sends into fear straight to their heart.
5. Those who wish to be tested on what they’ve learned in English, Math, Science, and Reading classes, rather than on abstract reason-skills and problem solving abilities.
6. Those who like science, which doesn’t exist on the S.A.T.
7. Those who do not like to write may select to take the A.C.T. without the essay section. Be aware, however, that some schools may require it.
8. Those who feel they are good at guessing, since there is no penalty for wrong answers.
9. Those who are fast readers, because the A.C.T. is much more fast-paced.
10. Those who process information quickly.
11. Those with a strong memory for information.
12. Those with shorter attention spans. The A.C.T. is shorter and has longer breaks.
13. Those with learning differences, especially processing issues. The A.C.T.’s accommodations allow such students to stretch the exam over several days. Plus, the information is more knowledge-based.
14. Those who work hard to get good grades in tough courses.
15. Those who are female, since statistics indicate that boys do better on the S.A.T., while both genders score more or less equally on the A.C.T.

You do not need to possess even a modicum of these characteristics to consider taking the A.C.T. Just try it, see how it goes, and make a decision from there. After all, you choose whether or not to have your scores reported to universities and you can take the A.C.T., just like the S.A.T., several times if your first attempt doesn’t go as well as you anticipated. If it and the S.A.T. go badly, and your academic and extracurricular record speak well to your abilities, you can also consider the Test Optional route.

So, what do you have to lose? At worst, just three and half hours, $52.50, and the uncertainty of whether or not you could have done better had there only been an alternative to the S.A.T.

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

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