Are Juniors Taking the SAT/ACT This Year?


Nicole Hirschkorn ’22

Every year, both students and college institutions question the relevancy of standardized testing as more and more colleges become test-optional. In the 2018-2019 school year, about 1,040 institutions went test-optional, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, more than half of all four-year colleges and universities announced that they will not require SAT or ACT scores for students applying to college in 2020, due to test cancellations. 

There are pros and cons to taking standardized tests. On one hand, standardized testing provides a standardized measure of comparing students’ academic abilities on a national level. Tests such as the SAT and ACT provide colleges with objective information: other metrics such as GPA can widely vary depending on which school a student attends. On the other hand, some students feel that standardized testing does not accurately represent their academic ability since it only assesses their test-taking abilities. 

In academically motivated schools such as Ramaz, many juniors feel as if they have nothing to lose by taking the SAT or ACT. “I’m going to study for the SAT,” said Jessica Moskovitz ’22. “However, I know that I don’t have to submit scores if I do poorly, so I’m not super worried about it.” In a recent survey sent out to the junior grade, 38.9% of 36 students said they have already taken the SAT or the ACT, and of those who have not taken a standardized test yet, 91.3% of 23 students said they plan on taking at least one this year. 

It seems that even during a global pandemic, standardized testing cannot be quashed. But why is this? One reason is that most schools are test-optional, not test-blind, which means that if a student submits a score, they will consider it as part of their holistic admissions process. Many Ramaz students feel like a standardized test score is vital to their college application.

“I started studying for the SAT earlier this year, but even though many colleges no longer require standardized tests, I still want to do my best on the test to stand out to college admissions officers,” said Jake Rubin ’22. 

Another possible reason the majority of students are taking the SAT or ACT might be because they aren’t confident in their GPA. A great SAT score could balance out a more average GPA— if a student only submitted his or her GPA and no standardized test scores, it could damage their application  in the eyes of college admissions officers. 

The moral of the story is that even though many colleges no longer require standardized test scores, Ramaz students feel that simply taking the test can’t harm them when they are given the opportunity to do so.