Is the SAT or ACT more important?: Student misconceptions

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This past month, the majority of juniors at Townsend Harris took the school-wide SAT exam, which is a standardized test that plays a considerable role in the college admission process. While the SAT and ACT are both plausible options to be sent to colleges, students tend to select one over the other.  Within many schools, including THHS, a common belief is that the SAT is superior to the ACT. However, in reality, they are more alike than students think. 

An overwhelming majority of students in THHS appear to prefer the SAT over the ACT. An Instagram poll demonstrated that 93% of students (based on 61 replies) believed that the SAT was more important. 

Junior Qazi Ali said, “I believe the SAT is what colleges take more consideration into because most kids take the SAT so colleges have more of an accurate idea about the range of scores.” Similarly, junior Joyce Zheng stated, “I think both are important but by first impression, colleges take the SAT into further consideration because it seems to be the standard test everyone takes.”

However, the SAT and ACT are tests of equal caliber and importance when viewed by colleges. Guidance counselor Jeremy Wang confirmed that the “SAT and ACT are equal.” Contrary to common belief, he added that “a lot of colleges will look at ACT scores more as a prediction of one’s success, as ACT questions tend to associate more to one’s curriculum.” 

While many students tend to take the SAT in New York, the majority of students in Western United States colleges take the ACT. Nevertheless, the vast amount of students taking the SAT in NY result from misconceptions pertaining to the two standardized tests. Freshman Emily Li stated, “I honestly thought that the SAT was more important than the ACT. More people talk about the SAT and so people start thinking it’s more important.” Junior Stacey Roy added, “Many people are not aware of this because there is a greater influence in their community to prepare for and do well on one of those tests over the other, as deemed important by said community.”

As senior Julia Xia stated, neither “test is more important.” She continued, “We tend to overemphasize the importance of such standardized exams when they’re really just a door opener, not necessarily a shoe-in. They both have different qualities to them, and at the end of the day, as said, they’re both just another test score to get your foot in the door.”