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The ACT


"Standardised Testing" is a requirement for entrance into US universities. Yet, the irony is that they don't accept international examination results for this requirement. Sure, you may have taken Advanced Placement (AP), A-levels, International Baccalaureate (IB), or what other international exams that are available. No, they still insist that you sit for their "standardised test". I'm sure it's more aptly named "biased testing used to fuel their economy".

Yes. It's bloody expensive to take any of this single tests. While I understand that testing overseas from their shores requires extra shipment charges, how much can it possibly cost to post a few pieces of paper? A small booklet? Heck, there are companies out there that ship stuff like a single button cell battery internationally for no extra shipping charge. And it costs, in total, around USD 1-2. Yet, each test (both SAT and ACT) costs around USD 60-70 to take. What the heck? It's not even marked by hand! (except the essay, which is just one short one anyway) It's definitely overcharging, and all the universities support this.

Now, in the context of the SAT, it's mostly an english test, based on American English. Well fine, it's still english, and there are some small spelling differences and stuff between the American and British english. Nothing really biased, but the maths standards are too easy comparatively! English, was much tougher. Not to mention, a good heck of 2/3 of the paper is assessment on English.

And in other countries, where English isn't taught on hard concrete grammar rules (tell me, fellow Singaporeans, have your teacher actually told you how to construct a proper sentence grammatically in excruciating detail as to where each type of word must be placed? Like where to place conjunctions, adjectives, what are passive verbs, past perfect tense, and etc?), giving such a heavy weightage to the rules of English Language is just plain biased. Comprehension should be the focus. After all, we're not studying english to produce pristine grammatically correct constructs laden with overly obscure vocabulary. We want to communicate, and not be hindered by inconsistencies, or wrong usage, in our delivery. That's the point. Nothing more.

This is probably why I moved over to the ACT. For one, they test science too, which means a better overall assessment, not so biased, and of course, is to my advantage. Now, only half the paper is English, and they don't bother with the more obscure vocabulary either. The choices given are quite clear, and never so close that one has to nitpick in order to weed out incorrect answers. In short, ACT is a more unbiased test, being more rounded, and more practical. If you think the science side is biased against those who are more humanities inclined, let me just inform you that it requires little actual knowledge of science, and more of reasoning, and simple mathematics. So unless you can't logically follow arguments and points, or are really bad at math, or can't read english, the science section will be a breeze. (and you better breeze through it. ACT is more of a speed test)

15:16 23 Oct 2011
Personal,Thoughts

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