A voice for students at Brownell Talbot School


A voice for students at Brownell Talbot School



Senior Wisdom

How Important is the SAT/ACT?


The ACT/SAT is pretty important because it can really impact scholarships. I really think that the whole concept of those tests are idiotic but take them seriously because of the scholarship opportunities. I used Khan Academy to help study for the SAT, which was very helpful for me because they’ll explain each problem. I also had a tutor through Varsity Tutors but honestly I found better luck with Khan Academy.


It’s important not to devalue standardized tests and their influence on college admissions. In the University of Nebraska system, for example, standardized test scores are part of the requirement to earn the most prestigious scholarships. Spending the time to study for standardized tests can be worth the thousands of dollars you can save in tuition money. 

To prepare for the tests, there are lots of free tests online and others provided by college counselors. I recommend taking a section of the test every day and thoroughly reviewing the answers after each practice run. ACT/SAT content doesn’t cover much past about a 10th-grade level, so studying for these tests should involve more review than learning. Approaching these tests as content that is within your reach definitely helps with stress, as well. 


We are at a weird point in the history of standardized testing. I took the ACT last year and have found it to not be very useful in my college application process. All the schools I applied to were test optional, and there are many other schools (notably the entire University of California system) who opt for a test blind approach, not considering scores at all, placing more emphasis on grades and essay writing. That being said, the post-pandemic insistence that standardized testing is a thing of the past seems to have gone by the wayside. Many schools are bringing back their pre-2020 ACT/SAT test policies, viewing the past few years as an overcorrection. Thus, it really remains to be seen (likely in the next ~2 years) if the SAT and/or ACT will return to its former place of dominance.


Personally, I believe how valuable or seriously you should take standardized testing really depends on you and where you want to go or what you want to achieve. For my specific route I did not need an SAT or ACT score to apply and get into my college (ESADE an international school in Spain). I know my journey is very different to others, so again it depends on you! I never took a test since I did not need it. I was also aware I had other strengths that would be seen more valuable than my test scores. Not taking either test was a decision that was not made lightly, I considered all the pros and cons but in the end decided it was personally not worth it for me. It should be mentioned this decision was made with the help of my college counselors and I instead took an entry exam in replacement.

With that, if you feel test taking is not a strength of yours or your test score will not enhance your application, it is okay. Everyone is different and as long as you tried your hardest, that is all that matters. Your score does not define your intelligence. It also does not mirror you as a student. Just make sure you have a plan and that you gave it your all.

PSA: Always reach out to your counselors if you are unhappy with a test score, they are there to help!


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About the Contributors
Sidra Miller
Sidra Miller, Staff Writer
Clare Schinzel
Clare Schinzel, Staff Writer
Clare is a senior and it is her second year being a part of the Verbatim staff. She participates in volleyball, piano competitions, and is a writer for the JuSTEMagine Newsletter, Imagining. Clare has always loved reading, so she joined Verbatim to have an authentic writer's experience and a look at the behind-the-scenes process of publishing.
Frida Silva
Frida Silva, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Frida Silva is a current senior at BT, and she arrived at BT sophomore year. She is involved in the Culture Club, cheer, and is class president for grade 11. Frida joined the verbatim team because she feels passionate about writing and expressing creativity. She enjoys writing campus stories and participating in the Career Clips podcast.
Calvin Snyder
Calvin Snyder, Staff Writer
Calvin was a senior at Brownell Talbot during the 2023-2024 school year, his only year with Verbatim. During his time at BT, he was the student leader for the Brownell Talbot pep band, editor-in-chief of The Ivy and the Ashlar: BT's annual art and writing publication, founded the Omaha chapter of the Owl Exploration Society, and won a Scholastic Art and Writing award for Critical Essay. Having spent three years outside of Verbatim, Calvin tried to make up for lost time. This manifested in a series of essays he affectionately calls "The Hubris Collection." He particularly likes "Fixing all my Problems with Crystal Magic," "Reconnecting with my Fictional (and Dead) Uncle," "Speedrunning Mandarin Chinese," and "Recreating the Old Testament in the Sims 4." He was honored to contribute his time to Verbatim.

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