Illinois switches from ACT to SAT


Apples or oranges, ketchup or mustard, black and blue or gold and white. Every coin has two sides and the merits of each can be debated endlessly. For current high school juniors the ACT or the SAT is the one coming at them full speed.

Traditionally, Illinois has proctored a college readiness test every April for the junior class. This is an effort to encourage high school students to pursue college after graduation. It is essential to take one of these exams because they are a requirement to be accepted at most colleges and universities. For the past 15 years, this has been the ACT. However, this year the state has decided to change tests, now having the SAT in its place. The primary reason for this change is simply one of cost. According to the state report as reported by Chicago Tribune, the College Board, the creator of the SAT, proposed a three year contract that was $1.37 million less than that of the ACT.

So how are students’ lives impacted by the great test switcheroo of 2016? In describing the impact of the change, OPRF junior Matthew Rippin said, “The switch doesn’t make too much of a difference for me, but I’m sure there are kids who have been preparing for the ACT and now have to start all over.” With announcement of the change actually occurring in 2015, it seems like juniors such as Rippin were given enough heads up to still be able to properly prepare for the SAT.

But how are these tests different?  According to OPRF senior Lizzie Maguire, who has taken both the ACT and SAT, “The most notable difference is the SAT has a lot more time allotted to each individual section. That also means it takes more time to complete the whole test. The ACT is more stressful in terms of time.”

Additionally, this past year the SAT made huge changes to their exam in many ways to resemble the ACT more. OPRF Guidance Counselor Joseph Herbst said, “The ACT and SAT are more similar than ever before. The recent changes to the SAT have eliminated much of the style and content differences between the two tests.

So juniors, whether it be the ACT or the SAT, studying and practicing for the test is a vital part of succeeding on the test and getting into college. Rippin certainly plans to study. “I plan to take the PSAT sometime this year, buy a book that I can study from and have study sessions with friends.”