Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if You Should Take the ACT or SAT

Should you take the SAT or ACT?

Flickr user Whatknot

Most colleges will accept either the ACT or SAT, so it’s completely up to you which you would like to take. If you can’t decide between the two after looking into each of them, here are some questions to ask yourself before you sit for the exam:

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

The SAT and ACT, although similar, are also very different. The SAT contains math, reading, writing, language, and the optional essay. The ACT has math, reading, and an optional essay, but it also contains English and science as sections. The SAT is also a good choice if you have a hard time with geometry as the ACT has more questions regarding that area of math.

However, if you prefer math with a calculator rather than without, the ACT can be more your speed, as the SAT has a section where no calculators are allowed. The ACT can be a great choice if math isn’t your strong point at all.

How Were You On the Practice Tests?

It’s a good idea to try a practice test in both the SAT and the ACT. If you do much better in one than the other, it can be a good idea to put your study time towards that specific exam. If you do about the same in either, you can use the other factors to decide which you should take. Try to do this before studying so you can see exactly where your strengths are and what each of the tests are like.

How Do You Do With Timed Exams?

The SAT and ACT are both timed, but the SAT actually gives you more time per question than the ACT. If you struggle with tight limits or they stress you out, it may be in your best interest to take the SAT. However, it is important to note that the SAT can have tougher questions.

Do You Want to Take Both?

You absolutely have the choice to take both the SAT and ACT! You can see which you do better on and submit that score along with your college applications.

The downside to that is the study time. You will have to study for both exams, which can be extremely time-consuming. If you do decide to take both, you will want to spread out the exam dates to ensure you have enough time to prepare for each.

Deciding between the SAT or ACT is completely up to you and your strengths. You’ll definitely want to think about what your best subjects are and where your weaknesses lie. If you’re having trouble deciding, try taking both practice exams to see how you do before you even start studying. You may find that you perform much better on another than the other and the choice will be much easier for you.

Check out how your ACT / SAT score affects your acceptance odds with College Raptor’s free match tool!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.