DEBUNKED: Common Myths About Testing

October 8, 2019

Does thinking about the SAT or ACT stress you out?  These tests are important and you should definitely take them seriously, but don’t let these common misconceptions contribute to an already stressful experience!

1. You shouldn’t take the test more than twice

This is false. All colleges allow students to superscore the SAT.  Most colleges (~60%) allow students to superscore the ACT.  Most schools do not require students to report all scores, in which case they will only evaluate your “superscore” or highest composite.  Even schools that require all scores to be reported do not overtly penalize students with multiple retakes. See this blog, which explains that retakes matter even less now that many schools are allowing students to self report their scores when they apply. 

2. Don’t pick to many As (or B, C, or Ds!) in a row

This is false and also TERRIBLE advice! If you get five A’s in a row, it might be a hint that you should go back and check your answers, but you should not blindly change them because you don’t like the way it looks on the scantron! 

3. A good SAT/ACT score is all you need to get into a good college

This is false. Colleges view applications holistically and a good SAT score cannot make up for terrible grades or a lack of meaningful extracurriculars.  

4. The SAT/ACT is an “intelligence test”

This is false. Tons of intelligent people struggle on standardized tests. Not all hope is lost, though. Everyone can learn helpful strategies to raise their score.

5. The ACT is easier than the SAT or the SAT is easier than the ACT

Both tests are unique and depending on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular student, one might be a better fit. Check out this blog to learn about what kind of student succeeds on each test.  

6. You shouldn’t worry about the SAT/ACT until the spring of your junior year

This is false, and as a tutoring company, this myth is one of our biggest pet peeves!  Waiting until April or May of your junior year puts more stress on you. You want to give yourself as much time as possible in case you run into unexpected obstacles (your accommodations request is delayed, you want to retake, etc).

7. If you don’t know the answer, you should leave the question blank

This is so, so, sooo false. Neither test penalizes you for wrong answers.  You should always guess. However, you should use process-of-elimination and make the most intelligent guess possible.

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