4 Myths About the SAT & ACT

Which test is best for me? All of my friends are taking the ACT…should I be taking it too? I’ve heard that top schools prefer the SAT to the ACT...is that true? There’s a lot of information and rumors out there about the ACT and SAT, which adds to the confusion and stress about which test students should take.

Let’s start by debunking a few of the most common myths about the SAT and ACT:

Myth #1 – The SAT and ACT are not accepted everywhere

Both the SAT and ACT are accepted by all major colleges and universities. Admissions officers have no preference between the two tests and know how the scores compare to one-another. In the past, the SAT used to be the “go-to” test for the East and West coasts while the ACT was much more popular in the Mid-West. Now, students across the country take either the ACT or SAT depending on which test they prefer.

Myth #2 – The SAT is harder than the ACT

Don't trust this comic...the SAT and ACT are both equally difficult.

With the changes on the SAT, there is plenty of chatter that the SAT is now the harder of the two tests. The SAT is a different test than the ACT, not harder or easier. In fact, most of the changes to the SAT are making the tests much more similar than before. As a result, the majority of students will get similar scores on both tests. Note that does not necessarily mean you! For instance, you might do better on the SAT if you are a math all-star. And you might score higher on the ACT if you are a fast reader and have strong grammar skills. It is worth exploring both tests to see which one is better for you! Learn more about which test might better fit your skills by checking out our blog post about 6 Big Questions To Help You Decide Which Test Is Better For You.

Myth #3 – Taking both the ACT and SAT will double your chances for success

Taking both the SAT and ACT is NOT the key to success.

Yes, these tests matter, but so do your grades, activities, friends, family, and your sanity! Preparing for the ACT or SAT is analogous to practicing your favorite sport. If you split time between practicing tennis and soccer, you will never get as good if you just picked one! If you are remarkably better at one test, it will become evident after some practice. Otherwise, pick the test you feel the most comfortable with and put all your efforts into learning and mastering that test.

Myth #4 – The ACT or SAT is perfect for you.

It's about finding which test is the better fit for you, not the perfect fit.

Many students believe that either the SAT or ACT will be the perfect test to match their skills set and that picking the right test is the most important part of the test prep process. This is almost never the case! In reality, these two tests are more similar than different, as both tests cover the same content and present questions in similar ways. The differences between the SAT and ACT result from how the sections of the test are setup, the timing of each section, and the scoring. The majority of students who fully prepare for and take the SAT or ACT will get fairly similar scores. However, picking the right test for you can make the ACT or SAT process much easier (as you will only need to focus on and prepare for one test) and, as a result of this focus, can result in higher scores for many students on test day. It is important to have the right information and the right guidance when selecting whether the SAT or ACT will be a better fit for you.

What's Next?

To learn more about picking between the SAT and ACT, check out these other blog posts:

  • Should I Take the SAT or the ACT? - 6 Big Questions To Help You Decide

  • SAT vs. ACT - Choosing Which Test To Take

  • About the ACT - Everything You Need to Know

  • About the SAT - Everything You Need to Know

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