Q&AAre test scores so important in America? What do they stand for for university’s students?
Fan Ben Asked 2 years

I just want to know more about some details about it, thanks. And I would like to hear from everyone who wants to say something .

1 Answers
iamuwajimaya Staff answered 2 years

This is an interesting question.
I’ll start by describing the way things were when I was in school, and then talk about the way things are going now.
When I entered high school, there were weekly tests and quizzes, as well as homework, which all added to a total grade for that class (A, B, C, D, F). These grades added together to make up the GPA, which a total ongoing score. The full GPA was 4.0 in my high school, though I think some schools allow higher. Note that this grade is made up of grades from quizzes, tests and homework. The most important tests in a year were the mid-term and final exams. These were pretty big tests and often made up about 20% – 40% of the entire grade for that class in that year. So, important, but not the only important thing. You could do poorly on a test and still do well in the class. 
In the last year of high school, I had to take two big tests, which were requirements for applying to universities. One is called the ACT, and the other is the SAT. The SAT is far more famous, but the ACT was more important for the schools I wanted to apply to. I remember I took the ACT three times, and the SAT only once. Some students study for these tests, but many do not. Many students (like me), just show up at the test on the designated morning. 
So, how important are the SAT and ACT when it comes to university entrance?
Answer: not THAT important. If you want to get into a great university, you have to do PRETTY well on the test, but the university will consider many other things during the admission period. These other things include the GPA that I mentioned before (for the 4 years of high school), the application letter written by the student, the background of the student (like if they have done volunteering), as well as any specific academic or athletic achievements (some students are admitted into a university because they are, for example, good at basketball). 
So, there isn’t much pressure surrounding these two tests, the ACT and SAT, and students may or may not prepare for them. Universities consider good scores, but don’t ALWAYS require them, and may look at other things. This is very very different than the Gao Kao test in China, which is the ONLY thing that matters to high school students who want to get into a good university.
But, the US education system has become more test-oriented recently. I’ve heard that the importance of tests is increasing, not only for high school student,s but also in primary and middle school. 

iamuwajimayaiamuwajimaya Staff replied 2 years ago

You’re welcome.

Fan Ben replied 2 years ago

Thank you for the information,sir. I got a better understanding from it.

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