February 9, 2018

Which admissions test should I take? The SAT or the ACT?

If you think it is hard to choose between Chicken Wings or the Filet Mignon Sandwich at Buffa Louie’s (a local hot spot in Bloomington, IN), you should try steering your way through the complexity of deadlines to apply for college. Every day, the students ask me “should I take the SAT or ACT?”

Well, the good news is that the admissions officers don’t have any preference as to which one you choose. Universities will accept either of the tests.

So then how do you decide which test to choose? How do you know with which test you will have success. Below are several questions that will help decide which test is better for you.

  1. Do your friends think that you have a word of the day calendar, but instead you have a very diverse vocabulary? You will like the SAT better.
  2. Do you get good grades, but you struggle on tests? You are probably better on the ACT test.
  3. When you are taking a timed test, you usually have time left at the end? You will most likely perform better on the SAT.
  4. If you would say, “Reading information about a science experiment is awesome!” then you are probably better on the ACT.
  5. If on the PSAT, your math score was your highest score, then you will prefer the SAT. But, if both critical reading and writing were significantly higher than your math PSATs, then the ACT is the best test for you.

While these questions are not the end-all to determine your best test, they will likely lead you to your strongest scores. To be sure, you should take both, and then decide to continue taking your best test. By taking both tests, college admissions officers will take the set of scores in which you performed the best. Additionally, when you take the same test more than once, many colleges “super score” and take the best subject scores on both tests. If you are still not sure which test you do best on, then I suggest that you take a practice test for both the SAT and ACT. Select the one that you perform better on, and then take a prep class to learn the tips and techniques that will get you extra points on that specific test. Class 101 www.www.class101.com offers a comprehensive class for both the SAT and ACT tests that will help you practice the tests, and learn the tips for each individual test.

If your scores continue to be very similar on the practice tests, then you should focus your attention on the ACT. Why? Well, the ACT focuses on the subject material that you are covering in High School. The current SAT is more focused on strategy and critical thinking than it is about what you have learned, so you can improve your ACT score with greater predictability.

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