Currently, hundreds of thousands of teens across the United States are preparing for the tests they have come to regrettably know, the ACT (or its alternative, the SAT). While high school juniors may be aware of the exam and what its results define, it can get lost on those who didn’t take it, or come from a country where such a test is not required.
The ACT began circulation in the 1950s and since then has been used as a form of acceptance to colleges and universities based on the score on the exam. The exam itself is scored out of 36 points, assessing a student on English, Math, Reading, and Science. The score obtained is then used as a reference point on the ability of the student.
Unfortunately, the test is the source of a lot of anxiety for many students.
In an interview with Mya Seaton (current junior in class of 2019) I asked her the first three words that came to mind when thinking of the ACT, and she quickly responded with “Stressful, my future, and my life.” Mya stated soon after that “We (the students) are given the impression that the ACT leads to our future and determines how we are valued.”
The fear of the score being valued so highly holds true for many students, as it will often impede the ability to apply to certain schools. It also is a source of stress for those who wish to obtain scholarships, where many are based on the points earned on the ACT. These factors lead teens to directly correlate their result with their self-worth.
However it is important to distinguish a test from the worth of a person as a whole. Schools often look to your accomplishments and how you present yourself as a student looking towards the future.
As Mya put it “No score on the ACT will determine your success, only the individual can determine that.”