Many Students May Not Need To Take SAT and ACT Tests

students have anxiety over taking tests

For many students taking the SAT or ACT isn’t necessary to get into college. Yes, you’ve read that right. In many cases, you don’t need to take these tests to apply, be admitted, and attend college. Don’t put yourself through the stress if you don’t have to.

I’ve earned three degrees, AS in Business, BS in Business Entrepreneurship, and my MBA in Entrepreneurship and Global Business, and I’ve never studied for or taken the SAT or ACT tests. Also, I didn’t have to take the GMAT or GRE when I applied for graduate school. I was under the assumption that I would have to take one of them as it was a requirement for admissions. When they waived the requirement, I was pleasantly surprised. I was told it was because I attended the same university (California State University, Sacramento) as an undergraduate and they looked at my undergraduate work. I’m not sure what they considered, my GPA, coursework, or something else. I didn’t inquire further; I was happy I didn’t have to take it.

SAT and ACT Cause Student’s Unnecessary Stress

It’s not that I don’t want you to take these tests because they are difficult or time-consuming. I don’t want you to take them if they aren’t necessary. I want you to use your time efficiently. Taking a high-stakes test when you don’t have to is not a good use of your time.

Studying for these tests is time-consuming. You must start studying months in advance. You take countless practice tests. Attend test preparation courses. Comb through endless test prep material. Download apps for daily questions. In addition, rarely does a student take the test once, typically they take it twice. It usually costs $50 each time (though fee waivers can be found). Not to mention all the anxiety and fear that you won’t score well, or you will run out of time.

Student Taking SAT and ACT Test

Taking The SAT Or ACT More Than Once

I know a student who has taken the SAT 4 times. That’s insanity. Multiply all that preparation, studying, stress, and money by 4 times. That’s a lot of pressure on a person. It was a lot of pressure on my friend. After the third time, he was so defeated. He felt like he wasn’t good enough. That he wasn’t measuring up. He felt like he was disappointing his parents. He questioned even going to college. This is where the test may do more harm than good.

Repeatedly taking these tests can take a toll on a student’s mental health. Academic stress and its impact on mental health is a well-researched issue. Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased chance of developing anxiety or depression.

Additionally, research has shown that high-stake tests, like the SAT and ACT causes a physiological response in students. It can cause cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol is a hormone released in high-stress situations. Some students become so overwhelmed they just “shut down”.

Furthermore, it’s important to consider, that while a student is preparing for the SAT or ACT tests, they still have full schedules and responsibilities. They have their regular daily academic pressure. Not to mention that they are preparing to go to college which is life-changing.

Who Shouldn’t Take The SAT And ACT Tests

If you plan on going to a community college, which I highly recommend, they do not require SATs or ACTs. If you transfer from a community college to a university the university will not require an SAT or ACT. The university will go off your community college grades. This is the route I took.

If you plan to go straight to a university out of high school, check and see if the university you want to attend requires SAT or ACT. The list of universities that are no longer requiring these tests is growing because college admissions are recognizing that the tests are not a universal way to determine if a student should be accepted.

Some Colleges That Don’t Require SAT or ACT

Rebecca Safier over at PrepScholar has compiled a detailed list of colleges that don’t require SAT tests. Complete Guide: Colleges Not Requiring SAT Scores. However, I’ve included a short list here so you can see there are many excellent universities that don’t require SAT or ACT tests to apply for admissions.

Colleges That Don’t Require SAT or ACT Tests

For some students who want to attend a specific college, the SAT and ACT tests are needed. Those students should prepare and study hard. However, be sure that you are one of those students, you don’t want to give yourself any unnecessary stress. You also want to be sure you are utilizing your time efficiently. You can use the time you would have spent studying to prepare for college or get a job and work.

Motivation is crucial for students. Studies have shown that motivation in education dramatically impacts a student’s academic performance. Be sure to check out, How Students Can Create The Motivation For Success.