Flickr user Andrew Malone

“Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master one.” It’s a quote that speaks to being well-rounded, the value of having many skills and not focusing on one expertise.

When it comes to the ACT and SAT, however, it might be better to be a master of one, than a jack of all trades.

Bad Reasons for Taking Both the ACT & SAT

There are plenty of myths that surround these exams, and those myths can shape how you approach testing. Some say that colleges prefer the SAT (they don’t). Most schools in the Midwest take the ACT, and the SAT isn’t as widely available (it’s got nothing to do with schools on the east and west coasts being “better”, just that the ACT was created in Iowa).

Some think that taking both the ACT and SAT will impress admissions officers. But the fact of the matter is the ACT and SAT are two very different tests. Preparation won’t be the same, strategies won’t be the same, the mentality won’t be the same. So taking both could actually backfire and lower your scores.

Acceptable Reasons for the Taking the ACT & SAT

The only real reason for considering taking both tests is to get a feel for them—to see which is better suited for you. Once you know which fits you better, you can focus your efforts on studying and retaking that one test.

Of course, there are other ways to determine which is better for you without actually taking the tests. You could take the PSAT and PreACT, for example. Or take practice tests online. Generally speaking, students who prefer Math & Science favor the ACT, while students of English and History prefer the SAT. (Again, generally speaking).

Master of One

It’s far better to put your effort and energy into mastering either the ACT or the SAT. Find which one suits you best and study up!

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!