Do You Know Your SAT History? Don’t Worry It’s Not On The Test

Do You Know Your SAT History? Don’t Worry It’s Not On The Test

At this point the ACT/SAT standardized test tradition is widely accepted without question, for the most part. It’s one part of the college application process that applicants accept they must do. But, what is the purpose of standardized testing? And how did it start?
For many, this is the dreaded test that determines a large part of their future. Perhaps knowing more about the exam will make the people taking it feel a bit better about it. So, let’s dive in.

History of the SAT

According to PBS, the history of the SAT dates back to the first World War. At the time, Robert Yerkes, a psychologist who studied intelligence testing, convinced the U.S. army to let him test on all their soldiers. This test became known as the Army Alpha and was later used for a college admission test after the war. A few years down the road, then president of Harvard, James Bryant Conant decided to use the SAT instead of the Army Alpha as a scholarship determinant. It became the uniform exam for all schools of the College Board, but only for scholarship applicants.

In 1948, the Educational Testing Service became official and was the start of the SAT that has been used for college admissions ever since.

History of the ACT

Later came the subject tests and the writing subjects, which are now common in a lot of application processes.
The ACT had a different history than the SAT, starting much later in history around 1959. It got its start because Everett Franklin Lindqust developed it as a competitive option for the SAT. The creators of the ACT felt that it did something the SAT did not – it tested for things that students actually learned in school, whereas the SAT was more of a cognitive reasoning test.
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Why do we need these tests?

As we all probably know, these tests are just one part of your application. Your grades throughout your 12 years of school, your extracurriculars, your essays, etc. are what are really supposed to help you stand out. But despite all of that, as we probably all know – skipping the test is not an option.
The reason that universities provide for wanting your test scores is to scope out how prepared students are for college-level education. It’s a way for them to determine that students from all different places, backgrounds, and educational levels are ready to enter their classes.

The difference between the two tests

Although some people like to think so, the “easier test” does not exist. According to a former director of college prep at Kaplan, there are some basics of the test that might appeal more to certain students. If you’re more of a math student, or you excel in math, you might find you’ll perform better on the SAT. If you excel in English, you might do better on the ACT.
The best way, however, to determine which test you will excel at is by taking both. If you are able to sign up for and take both tests by the Fall of your junior year, you can make your decision based on the results of both tests.

If you find you did not excel on either test, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for! If you’re having trouble, whether it’s in school, on standardized tests, or anything else – there is a Miles Smart tutor for you. Call (813)-328-3036 or visit for a free consultation.