SATs: The Reason for Stressed Juniors

by Brooke


Eleventh grade is usually the toughest academic year for high school students because of the SAT’s and ACT’s. These standardized tests causes stress on many individuals, since the test scores are sent to their desired colleges. Depending on the college, the ACT or SAT can have varying impact on determining if the applicant gets accepted.


The majority of colleges take their applicants and take their test results and GPA into consideration the most, and then look at their other activities. Because schools normally look into the test scores, many juniors have constant pressure about SAT prep and taking the exams every time they are offered. The standardized tests are more difficult for some because there is no specific material that can be studied. One has to be a naturally good test taker in order to do well on the tests.

Many colleges accept both the SAT’s and the ACT’s; however, there are a few universities that do not accept both types. Also, some schools have the option for students not to send any test scores. Many such schools instead require students to send in something else creative in replacement of the test results.

The SAT and ACT have similarities and differences. Both exams test an individual’s common knowledge and problem solving skills. The SAT tests Math, Critical Reading, and Writing while the ACT tests Math, English, Science, and Reading. Math in the ACT includes trigonometry unlike the SAT. The SAT has a guessing penalty, but the ACT does not. The ACT is also shorter and the writing section is optional. Many people think that the ACT has more information based on what is taught in high school. The ACT is used more in the Midwest whereas the SAT is more associated with the Northeast.

Students start taking the ACTs, SATs, or both multiple times junior year. In addition preparing through practice tests and even after taking the actual test, some students receive test prep. Students either get private tutors to help their standardized test skills or attend classes that teach small groups.

While this kind of instruction is helpful, it can also be a major source of student stress.  It takes up much time in juniors’ schedules. Along with the prep, Juniors are trying to study their regular school classes to raise their GPA’s, participate in extracurricular activities, and succeed in sports to get into their choice of college. Some students are even employed and work during the weeks and weekends atop of everything else. It is easy to see why eleventh graders are extremely strained.

When senior year of high school finally arrives, and these students have submitted all of their applications, the stress finally ends. However, it is only followed by the anxiety of getting acceptance letters. However, for the most part, all the hard work as juniors will eventually pay off.



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