Thinking Beyond The SAT/ACT: Using Study Skills For College Success

By the end of a student’s high school career, they are well adjusted to cognitive study assessments. Most subjects, including mathematics, literature and science heavily rely on memorization, critical thinking and other important study skills. However, SAT and ACT ratings cannot provide a comprehensive view of a student’s abilities. That is why many post-secondary institutions are factoring non-cognitive skills into admission decisions in addition to cognitive skills. It takes a seemingly endless amount of time to prepare for the SAT/ACT, but what’s next for students after this?

Students and parents should be thinking beyond the SAT/ACT ratings solely. How do these cognitive and non-cognitive abilities translate into future college success? Read on to learn more about how students can look beyond standardized tests for college success.

How Colleges Prioritize Non-Cognitive Skills In Admission Decisions

Non-cognitive skills are becoming increasingly important to colleges and universities in terms of student admissions. More post-secondary institutions are examining a student’s level of grit and control associated with academic determination and dedication, especially after this past year. Students who possess these two non-cognitive skills tend to earn higher GPAs overall. Students with these qualities are more likely to attend classes regularly, remain focused and maintain steady academic performance.

Not only are academic institutions rapidly realizing the importance of non-cognitive skills, so are businesses and workplaces. Non-cognitive skills and academic perseverance are strong indicators of a committed student and future employee. In addition, some colleges are having students complete a non-cognitive exam like the ETS Personal Potential Index. The ETS Personal Potential Index allows academic institutions to receive a more comprehensive picture of the student to find applicants that are more likely to succeed beyond academics.

Importance of SAT/ACT Beyond College Admissions

COVID-19 has actually prompted significant changes to the SAT/ACT testing for college admissions. This year, hundreds of colleges and universities made standardized test submissions optional. Despite this, standardized testing can still hold several benefits for students. Beyond gaining entry to their coveted post-secondary institution of choice, SAT/ACT allows students to qualify for scholarships, college credit, college prep and endurance training. Here is why these three advantages matter to students and colleges:

1. Scholarship Qualifications

One of the most widely-known score dependent scholarships is the National Merit Scholarship program. This scholarship is $2,500 and is awarded to high school seniors based on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test score. Although applying can be time-consuming for students, the reward can be highly beneficial. For students that want to look at other scholarships, certain colleges offer financial aid for competitive SAT/ACT scores. 
Ensure your student is speaking with their prospective schools to determine what scholarship they may qualify for. To learn more about ACT or SAT awards and scholarships, you can visit

2. College-Level Course Prep

Students will take tests and exams throughout their high school and college years. GradePower Learning’s GPA 5.0 SAT Preparation Course helps students prepare for college with effective tools to achieve top scores on their exams and get into the college of their choosing. SATs can be important for a student’s future and beyond getting a high score. Tutoring can help students feel comfortable in a testing environment when taking formal SATs or ACTs. GradePower Learning also offers GPA 5.0 ACT Preparation Courses to ensure students are prepared in a variety of subjects with comprehensive test preparation and take-home units.

3. Endurance Training

The ACT and SAT assessments are lengthy with each lasting for approximately three hours. Although there are occasional breaks, students taking the standardized tests are expected to complete each assessment without interruption. Many equate SAT/ACT assessments to marathons for this reason. That is why it’s beneficial for students to consider endurance training so their minds and bodies can be prepared for the test. Maintaining that mental stamina for the test will ensure the student does not become overwhelmed before that halfway mark.

Consider 30-minutes of exercise a day to boost the short-term memory for reading comprehension. Exercise can also help increase energy levels to help students maintain focus and resilience throughout the test.

SAT/ACT Success Through Tutoring

GradePower Learning Tutoring Services is your student’s solution for SAT/ACT preparation. It takes much more than just studying a textbook to be successful in standardized tests. Consider the importance of non-cognitive skills as well as cognitive skills for a student’s future. Colleges will always look at more than a student’s SAT scores. Find a GradePower Learning location near you for SAT/ACT help!

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