The ACT: Don’t Let It Matter

Zack Hall, Staff Writer

Stress in the air. Juniors are frantically scrambling to fit in their last study sessions. Most seniors are laid back and have stopped caring. Sophomores are blissfully unaware of the horror that soon awaits them. The ACT. The bane of every high schooler.

Most of us have nightmares about filling out bubbles and not having enough time to finish all of the questions. And that’s separate from when we fall asleep while taking the test.

After four (five if they have to kick someone out, which is kind of funny) hours of scribbling work and filling out bubbles, the proctors of the test release you with the promise of receiving your scores within three to eight weeks. You leave the testing center, brain dead and unable to think for the rest of the day.

And then we all forget. We move on with our lives and forget all about the trauma of having to answer multiple-choice questions for hours on end. And then, we get the letter. Inside, is the score that will shape the rest of your life, your college choice, your career, whether or not you will get married, be successful, own a dog, live in a ditch, etc.

Except not really. That little number, on a scale of 1-36, is given too much importance. Sure, that number helps determine what college you’ll apply to, but that’s about it. It doesn’t determine what job you’re going to get. It doesn’t determine whether or not you’re going to be successful. The ACT only determines about you what you let it determine about you.

From a random sample, people have taken the test more than two times each, and out of the people interviewed, only 37 percent actually got the score they wanted – after taking it more than two times. And while their determination is admirable, I can’t help but mourn the emphasis we place on something that shouldn’t really matter. The ACT measures how well you test under pressure, it doesn’t test measure your worth as a person.

Senior Roy Brambila says, “There are multiple kinds of intelligence and the ACT doesn’t accurately measure even school intelligence.” Your score on the ACT is dependent on so many other factors other than your actual intelligence. Why should we use a test that is dependent on so many other factors than intelligence as a test of intelligence?

Our scores on the ACT shouldn’t matter so much, so let’s stop placing so much emphasis on it. Your ACT score is a number. You are a person. That number doesn’t define you as a person, and you shouldn’t let it.