The tangible benefit of higher SAT and ACT scores is obvious: when you get better scores, you have a better chance of getting into college. But the intangibles are just as important; often, after working through an intensive SAT or ACT program, students and their parents report higher GPAs, more self confidence, and a renewed interest in reading and extracurricular learning.
As fantastic as these side benefits are, they're not the main "selling point" of a proper test prep plan. These tests are means to an end, and at the end of the day, every parent wants one thing above all else: concrete results. If I can get my students higher SAT and ACT scores, and get them into better colleges, everyone is happy. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
However, a new Wall Street Journal article has highlighted another enormous, practical benefit of getting high SAT and ACT scores:
More companies than ever are requesting ACT and SAT scores when reviewing candidates' job applications.
I highly recommend you read the above article. It makes an interesting point: many hiring companies use the SAT and ACT scores for the same reason that colleges do: without any other relevant information to work from, the SAT and ACT are excellent indicator's of an applicant's "raw brain power" and "intellectual capacity."
Colleges don't know how hard your school's math program is compared to a competing school's - two students with A+ math averages could have very different levels of capability. The SAT is the "settling factor" - if both students have A+ averages, but one has a 750 and one has a 500 in math, it's clear who the better math student really is.
I got a huge kick out of this article for one key reason:
The SAT and ACT are NOT indicator's of a student's intelligence or abilities, but everyone thinks that they are.
Sure - being very smart will give you a leg up on both tests, just like being very tall will give you an initial leg up in basketball. But there have been 5'3'' NBA all-stars, and plenty of 7'0"+ people who never even played college basketball.
The idea that these tests are "intelligence tests" is as widespread as it is wrong. It's this idea that terrifies many parents and students. Students who don't "test well" are afraid that they're "bad testers," aren't "smart enough," and are therefore destined for horrible test scores. It's a horrible, self-reinforcing cycle that never really ends. Students believe it, parents believe it, and even many schools believe it, even though countless studies have shown that SAT scores are not an indicator of college OR job performance. All the evidence is there, but no one wants to believe it.
There are two key takeaways here:
1. People care deeply about these tests, and high scores will be an asset through your entire professional career, not just through your college application process.
2. These tests can easily be gamed, and those who prepare properly and follow the proper strategies are setting themselves up for success throughout their entire lives.
Every student is capable of fantastic test scores with the right preparation. These tests simply require that you know the requisite material and the strategies to use that material. That's it. Anyone can learn these things, even if some are naturally further ahead than others when they start preparing. But ignoring the need for test prep can have ramifications that last far past the application process.
After reading the Wall Street Journal article, I'd like you to consider only three things:
1. The sooner you start your SAT or ACT prep, the better. These tests require long-term planning and preparation. No matter how you choose to prepare, make sure that you start early and plan properly.
2. These tests DO NOT test your real abilities or intelligence. They test how good you are at taking them. That's it. Anyone can do well, but doing well is NOT easy. It takes real work, real preparation, and pure persistence.
3. While the truth about these tests (that they are not real indicators of intelligence or ability) has been proven over and over again, very few people recognize this truth, and act on the exact opposite assumption. High SAT and ACT scores, for better or worse, are an enormous asset, and low scores will always be a burden.
Have any comments, thoughts, or questions? Feel free to get in touch and let me know. If you'd like to work with me, be sure to book me as soon as possible using the "book me" tab above, and if you can't work with my schedule, you can always use my online program on your own time at:
Good luck with your prep, and be sure to get in touch if you have any additional thoughts on this article that I should share with my audience!