A Guide to Choosing the ACT or SAT

Most colleges specify that they require test scores in an application—though almost all students will take either test. Depending on where you live in the US, one test or the other could be much more popular, and so your high school may only offer one. Taking the other might be trickier, but could be well worth the extra effort. Take the test that is better suited to you and will give you a better chance of getting higher scores. These tips will help you decide whether you should take the ACT or SAT.

A yellow pencil with shavings around it.

Go Through Official Testing Booklets

Official testing booklets for the ACT and SAT contain real test papers that you can answer. Along with the question papers, you also get the criteria that are used to grade answers. Grading yourself after taking the test will give you a good idea of your aptitude. It will also help you make a more informed decision as to which test is better for you.

Do not attempt to take the exams immediately. Instead, read through each booklet to understand the examination pattern and the types of questions you can expect in each section.

Answer a Section Of Both Exams And Check Your Scores

Set aside some time one day to complete a section of the ACT. On another day, complete the same section of the SAT from their respective booklets. Note the differences in the structure and how the questions are asked between each of the two tests.

Grade your answers, compare the scores and make a note of the scores in a physical or digital planner or book.

Making the Decision

Add up the individual scores for SAT and ACT, and compare them. There are online score comparison tools that help you do this easily.

If you have a significantly higher score for one examination, select that one as your preferred exam. On the other hand, if both ACT and SAT scores are similar, opt for the examination you preferred as it will bring out the best in you when you sit for the actual examination.

Typically, students who are stronger in English and language classes tend to favor the SAT. On the other hand, more math and science-oriented students prefer the ACT.

Or you could just take both exams.

Once you know which examination you will be appearing for, start preparing for it immediately so you can boost your score in the actual test.

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