ACT, SAT necessary for college

Klaudia Manis and Adrian Simmons

From fear and stress to boredom and not being prepared, the dread of taking college entrance exams is normal for most students.

Students planning to go to college must take the ACT or SAT. They can also take the PSAT or the ACT Aspire as pre-tests.

The ACT exam tests students on their college readiness in four subjects — English, reading, math, science, along with an optional writing portion. 

“If you’re really strong in reading, graphs, charts and figuring things out, then the ACT is probably the test you want to take because you might score higher,” counselor Joaquin Zapata said. 

Sophomore Melissa Whalen added: “It’s a test that colleges like to look at to see how smart you are in certain sections of school and it can really (have an) impact on which colleges you can go to.”

This test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36 points, which is an average of each test section combined. The ACT counts every correct question as a point with incorrect and unanswered questions holding no points. Students can also retake individual portions of the ACT without retaking the test altogether — a new feature of the exam.

“One or two points on the ACT can mean a lot,” Zapata said. “Depending on what you get, it can be the difference between paying full price at Butler or maybe they pay your books and tuition.”

Juniors can take the ACT once for free, and students on free or reduced lunch have two extra chances for the test. There’s no limit to how many times you can take the test, but new sessions range from $52-$68 depending on if you’re taking the writing portion.

Another commonly accepted test is the SAT. 

 “I’m applying to colleges everywhere and some of them prefer one over the other,” senior Garrett Busey said.

The SAT consists of two parts — English and math — and an optional essay portion 

“If you’re just good in English or math overall, then the SAT might be better for you,” Zapata said. 

The point scale ranges from 400 to 1600.

“It’s important to take (the practice tests seriously) if you want to go into something with high (score requirements) or just want to practice for the real deal,” Whalen said.