Should the SAT and ACT be removed?


Savannah Smith, Staff Writer

   “Your hands are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy… it’s almost like if the Eminem song was a person, it’d be you.” That was my intro to my less personal piece on testing in September. Now it’s time to share my story.  


   In short, yes, SAT and ACT should be removed. It simply doesn’t make sense that the rest of our lives is determined by one bubble sheet.  

    In life what you put into something, is usually what you get out of it. Unless you’re talking about the SAT/ACT. In total I have taken the SAT/ACT 5 times. As a student whose grades should reflect a 30 or higher, my ACT absolutely was not at all what you would expect. I worked my butt off doing everything it takes to prepare and took the higher classes suggested by counselors, only to receive a score that I don’t want to associate myself with.  

    Frustrated after receiving my test scores, I asked the boy sitting beside me what he got on his ACT when he was a junior, hoping to make himself feel a little better. This boy was very unorganized, played on his phone most of the period, wasn’t playing a sport, and was too good to ever do his homework. He was most certainly not the teacher’s pet. However, he was not your average test taker. This boy was a 34 maker. He told me he made a 31 and then took the ACT again to get a 34.  

    He was your average student. I thought maybe he was just an exception. I started to ask around and I found that a large portion of the higher test taking students weren’t your typical candidates. He was the example of everything I tried to not be, yet somehow managed to have the bragging rights I had long worked for. Somehow a test score made him remarkable. How could a 4-hour long test score count more to people than all my long hours and years of hard work? Was everything I worked for all for nothing if my test score accompanying my long list of achievements meant nothing without the 30+ score to be submitted along with it? The system failed me.  

    In fact, I’m not the only person to have such an epiphany; The University of Virginia had the same consensus. During one of the online Zoom meetings UVA provided with the public, the leader of the call provided information synonymous to mine: “a piece of paper, bubbled in circles, should not define whether or not a student is able to be admitted into a school.” UVA’s philosophy correlates to mine. They are a test optional school.  

    Continuing my months of prep classes, one day during a one on one session with the head of the Academic center, I was told I had a learning disorder. Hearing that you are applicable for accommodations in the fall of your senior year, was not ideal. Empowered, I realized that it really wasn’t a lack of understanding the test material, it was a lack of faith in myself. I was so convinced that I was the problem, when in reality, the playing field was not even. As I shared my story I realized I wasn’t the only one with a learning disorder who didn’t perform well on a standardized test.  

    Colleges preach individuality, yet promote a test that labels us as a stat. I have had countless setbacks that not your average student would experience. I have become resilient beyond belief. Without my four-hour long test score in the way, I’d have a chance to be considered for everything else I bring to the table. So, for the college admissions that view the test score as the final say, hear my story. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. 

    Additional reading:

What is a Test-Optional College? – College Board Blog

What Test-Optional Policies Really Mean for College Applicants | CollegeVine Blog