SAT vs ACT - Choosing Which Test to Take
Picking between the SAT and ACT is one of the most common questions that we guide parents and students through at ScoreBuilder Test Prep. Below, we outline our recommendation for how students should decide between the SAT or ACT.
We always recommend that students do pick just the SAT or the ACT to prepare for and take.
In order to successfully prepare for the exam, students must put in time working through practice problems and practice tests. By selecting either the SAT and ACT, you can become an expert on that one test and can achieve higher scores on test day.
How to decide which test to take?
1. Learn about the Differences Between the SAT and ACT
Before even taking a SAT or ACT, it is important to understand the differences between these two tests and learn About the ACT and About the SAT. In general, the SAT is a slower-paced and less-straightforward test, where students will have more time per question but the questions will consequently be more difficult. On the other hand, the ACT is a faster-paced and more-straightforward test, where students will need to move quickly each question and manage their time well to achieve good scores.
Another key difference has to do with the Math on the test. The SAT features two math sections, one "no-calculator" section and one "with calculator" section, that counts for half of a student's overall score. The ACT has just one "with calculator" section that only counts for a quarter of a student's overall score. As you can see, strong math skills are more valuable on the SAT, so many superstar math students might prefer to take the SAT. On the other hand, if math is your sworn enemy (especially without a calculator!), the ACT might be a better choice for you.
Check out our article on Should I Take the SAT or ACT? - 6 Big Questions To Help You Decide to learn about other important differences to consider when picking which test is best for you.
2. Take a full practice SAT and practice ACT
Sharpen those #2 pencils, grab a good eraser, and block out a couple of hours to complete a Free Full Practice SAT and Free Full Practice ACT. By working through both tests, students will learn the differences between the two tests and discover which test they prefer. In addition, the scores from the two tests also provide you with great information about which test seems to be a better fit.
If you score way higher on the practice ACT than the practice SAT, you should probably take the ACT. On the other hand, if your SAT score is much higher, than the SAT it is! Even if you get similar scores, most students will have a strong preference on which test they preferred. By the end of this process, it is usually pretty easy to pick a test and put together a plan for preparing!
3. Pick the test that's right for you
Pick the test that is the right fit for you.
After working through and scoring a full SAT and ACT, most students will know which test to take. Do not overthink it. If you felt like the ACT was easier for you, then go for it! If you preferred the setup of the SAT, then that's the test for you. If you are still undecided and want to talk to a professional, Contact Us and setup a consultation.
4. Put together a SAT Prep or ACT Prep plan
Once you have selected which test to take, you will need to put together a plan to get ready for the SAT or ACT. These are difficult tests, so you will need to set aside significant amounts of time to study learn the content on the test, take practice tests, and review your work.
It is important to decide when you will take the SAT and ACT. You will need to know the 2017 ACT Test Dates or the 2017 SAT Test Dates to see when the tests are offered. Once you pick a test date, get signed up for the ACT or get signed up for the SAT.
You can read there articles to learn more about different types of SAT and ACT Prep, how long it takes to prepare for the SAT or ACT, when to take the ACT or SAT, and when to get test prep started.
Selecting between the SAT and ACT is an important first step in the test prep process, but it does not need to be a stressful one! Explore both the SAT and ACT with practice tests to find which one your prefer. Let test prep professionals guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Then, get ready to study hard and get some great scores on the SAT or ACT.
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