Can the Standardized Test Predict Your Success?

We are all asked to take these standardized test such as the ACT or SAT, though different exams serves different purposes, do they have any impact in our success? Learn more on whether the standardized test can predict our success or not,

TCM Staff

28th February 2020

You might know the importance of standardized tests and the scores in the college admission process, most colleges/universities require the student ACT/SAT Scores in order to get into a good college also for scholarship eligibility as well. At present, there is a whole industry of services existing just because of these standardized tests like ACT/SAT tutoring programs and prep courses. 

One of the most recurring questions that were being asked in recent times is what to ACT/SAT scores really mean? are they just eligibility tests for college admissions? do these tests measure student’s smartness? And more. These questions didn’t surprise us, but the one question which really surprises us is “Do these Standardized test such as ACT/SAT predict student’s success in college and in his/her career.

Well, in this article we’ll be trying to answer one of the important and surprising questions asked, and explain what it means, with respective of the data available.

What Does College Success Mean?

Before getting into the main question “Do these Standardized Tests predict student’s success in college?”, you might have to know does it mean to succeed in college, many people have a different perception and different definition for success. But what is the actual definition of success in college, you may never know.

However, we are not going to give you a general definition from our side, we are just going to illustrate you with few definitions from the side of students as well as from the college side too. Regardless of the definitions, there are certain quantitative factors that can be used to measure that success.

If you’re a student or an alumnus, then you might have had a different college experience which gives you a different perception with it. For you, succeeding in the college might mean scoring good grades, and having excellent academic performance, or building skills for a better career and achieve your objectives, or training you for building your own company and more definitions which mostly resembles personal, subjective and often difficult to express.

On the other hand, when you consider the institution’s definition for college success might mean very different things, most commonly the answer will indicate the graduation rate, job placement for students in the top companies, as well as the average income of the students who have graduated based on the program and graduation years, and so on and so forth.

And coming to the third definition which is from our parents. For them, success in college might mean getting a secure job (Long term or permanent job) rather than a temporary job with high income or job title, not all parents have this definition in their mind, It differs from the way they were raised, and also depending on the society they live in and few other factors also comes in to picture.

What Do these Standardized Test Score Mean?

There is no clear cut answer, but however a study shows that students who score higher in these standardized tests are slightly very likely to score good grades in the college, excel academically and also more likely that they score higher incomes after college.

In general, the ACT/SAT test scores do show a parallel relation with the student’s performance, but not necessarily in all cases. This kind of parallel relation is mostly seen in top colleges, which tend to have smart students, and they also do train them well. So things get complicated here because there are several other factors that come into play in the student or college’s success.

Mostly, we can notice that students who score highly on the SAT/ACT show generally higher performance and tend to have a higher success rate, but it doesn’t mean that standardized test is the reason for that. All I’m trying to say is there are a variety of other factors that also influences the outcome.   

The research found that the student’s high school grades and GPA are slightly better predictors of his/her success in college as well as in his future. The fact says that grades, which is the combination of tests, exams, a different set of assignments sometimes include research papers as well. Even the SAT/ACT or any other standardized test is basically designed from the courses which are being provided in the colleges/universities. 

Though there is a lot of debate going on and against the standardized tests, why do they matter more, every test which is widely accepted by the colleges can’t be without purpose, In recent years many colleges even the top-tier colleges do administer these standardized test such as ACT/SAT, the actual reason for administering this standardized test is to test the student’s ability to know how well the student can perform in the college.

As well as the fact is that you can’t score very top scores in those tests like that, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort and dedication, so this shows the college whether the student takes education and test into serious consideration or not, this determines the sincerity of the student.


Getting a high score in the standardized tests won’t necessarily guarantee success in college, there are many other factors that also influence the student’s success in the doesn’t mean that the standardized tests don’t play a part in it, they do contribute in an indirect way perhaps.

But don’t let yourself get too caught up with the outcome of these tests, know which colleges best suits you, and prepare well for the test. The future is what you make it.

Also, Read: ACT vs SAT - Ultimate Guide to choosing the right test

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