Discussion in 'Community' started by question fear, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    So at work today I had a woman who was kind of miffed at our low selection of ACT books, and when I explained that there is a regional bias towards the SAT on the east coast and that we could order any ACT book she needed, she told me we should stock more, because the "ACT is becoming more popular since the SAT has become unreliable with all the changes".

    I'm in my mid twenties and fairly disconnected from the process of applying to college these days, so was this woman on crack or is that true? I ask because a) I am curious, and b) I will obviously push for more ACT books if so...but it doesn't ring true to me. Anyone have any input?

    For non-usa people: There are two accepted tests for academic measurement, the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the ACT (both links are to wikipedia)
  2. iRachel macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2005
    The Soybean Captial of the World

    I teach SAT in the summer. This woman doesn't seem to really know what she is talking about. These days, most schools will accept either test. I know of only a small handful that will only take one or the other. The "east coast bias" doesn't really exist anymore - but it's also not true that the SAT has been "discredited." What she might have "heard" - though she obviously heard it wrong, is that there are some schools who have decided to no longer require a test.
  3. mlw1235 macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    As a high school junior, I have found that most any college will accept either score. Not only that, but I personally think that the new SAT will only cause more kids to consider taking it due to the lack of analogies.

    And as a side note, anyone else taking the ACT on the 11th?? ;)
  4. iRachel macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2005
    The Soybean Captial of the World
    Good Luck!
  5. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I teach SAT also (on the east coast). I do know that the SAT is much much more popular than the ACT around here, but I don't think it's because schools won't accept the ACT, it's just kinda cultural that kids around here take the SAT.

    As far as the new SAT is concerned, it depends on the school. Some are accepting the new SAT in full, some are only looking at the math and critical reading (old verbal) sections for now, and some are saying that they won't give much weight at all to the new SAT until they see more administrations of the test and are able to figure out what the new scores "mean." But the majority of schools are fine with the new test, and in time, all schools will be (or at least as many as ever used the old SAT).
  6. sarae macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2004
    madison, WI
    I live in the midwest, and when I was applying to colleges I was encouraged to take both tests. There were some schools who would accept either score, while there were others that only wanted SATs (these were all on the East Coast), and the Midwest schools greatly favored the ACTs. This was a couple years ago, and I'm guessing it's still the same.

    My dad told me (I'm sure he was joking!) that SATs test what you already know, while the ACT is more geared for deductive reasoning. I always took that as an insult because I did better on ACT; I figured he was telling me that I was stupid but could guess the right answer. :p
  7. comictimes macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Berkeley, California
    I tend to agree with the woman. I'm a junior right now, and even though I took the SAT, that's only because it's familiar (I've taken it before, SAT II's, and the PSAT twice...). Several of my friends took the ACT, and I've heard of many other people taking the ACT because a lot of people are saying that the SAT is geared toward a certain socioeconomic group, and that it doesn't test your actual kknowledge nearly as well as the ACT. I personally don't know about that, all I know is I tend to do fairly well on it. However, what I do know is that the new essay section is horrible and will have to either me changed a lot or taken out, or else it will make the SAT a complete joke. A few weeks ago (just before I took my test, luckily) there was actually an article in the New York Times that described how an MIT professor had taken the word count of the essays written on the SAT's and that in 90% of them he could guess the exact grade they got on word count alone.

    So unless the collegeboard people shape up their test, the ACT may very well become more popular than the SAT.
  8. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    As a college senior who ran the gauntlet of standardized tests a few years ago, I can tell you that ALL standardized tests are a bunch of bull ****. EVERYONE knows that with proper coaching (read: enough money), ANY kid, smart or dumb, can get a high score on the ACT or SAT. It's proven that those children from higher income households score higher, and also that coaching results in higher test scores. Even with the SAT's new free response essay portion, I've heard of coaches claiming that they can "guarantee" a perfect essay score with just a little bit of proper coaching, showing kids exactly what essay graders are looking for and how to generalize those strategies to fit any topic.

    I understand there's a need for colleges to guage and compare students, and standardized tests are about the best thing anyone has come up with, but that still doesn't mean they aren't full of ****.

    Anyway, yeah, I think most schools will accept either test. Anyway, I think most students end up taking both tests anyway, in case they happen to be much better at one than the other, they can use the higher score on college applications. You should stock both SAT and ACT books. That's my advice.
  9. iRachel macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2005
    The Soybean Captial of the World
    Anibus -

    You are so right. I can, indeed, guarantee a perfect essay score, just by teaching kids to follow a certain formula - because the graders only have 60 seconds per exam, so they don't exactly read for content. Both tests are full of sh**, and the schools know it - they only use them because it's a fast indicator . This is the first thing I tell my students when I start teaching a new class - that these tests don't measure knowledge - they measure how well you take standardized tests - this is why coaching helps - not because you teach them knowledge, but because you teach them how to beat the test. And yes, it annoys me that the courses are so expensive, because I get mostly rich kids who already go to good high schools and are already going to do fine on the exam. Unfortunately, I'm a grad student, and this job pays really well...but I'm often disgusted with myself for doing it.
  10. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Yeah, I took the ACT last year, and that is FAR more common than the SAT in the midwest. But I also took the SAT, and I thought that both of them were pretty similar, but I noticed that the SAT is geared more towards verbally skilled people where the ACT is more rounded.

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