The SAT and ACT are taken by millions of college-bound students each year. (See SAT and ACT test-taking results for Dayton area.) While it used to be the case that students in the Midwest may have preferred the ACT and students in the New England area favored the SAT, I’ve noticed that those dichotomies don’t really exist today. It also used to be the case that colleges in certain regions of the country accepted only the ACT, while other colleges were partial to the SAT. That is no longer the case, either. Nearly all colleges today will accept either the SAT or ACT.
The SAT/ACT Choice
What this means for students is that they can submit the test that they choose rather than taking a test only because X college accepts it. Unfortunately, too many students are unaware of this. They, instead, are wasting their time and money to take both the SAT and ACT. Why?
Students can save time, money, and college changes by focusing on the test that is right for them. After all, the SAT is very different from the ACT. Here are several key differences:
[table id=2 /]
Most students will spend about 6-8 weeks prepping for either test. Whether they prep one-on-one with a tutor, on their own, or in a class, it takes time to review the question types and learn the applicable test-taking strategies.
To Take Both Tests
Both the SAT and ACT tests are offered at different times during the academic year. So we’re talking about prepping for a high stakes test, in addition to staying on top of a high school course load.
Let’s say that you take the December SAT, then test prep should have begun in October. The SAT scores would be returned in January. To prepare for the next ACT test in February means that you would need to start prepping for the ACT soon after the SAT and study through the holiday. The ACT scores would be returned in March. Now you have both results and start comparing the two. How do you determine which is a better score? You can do some comparison by checking your scores against recently admitted students at the colleges on your list. (My students can check in their Student Portal.) That leaves you only a Spring date to retake either test. This again will take a lot more time than you likely have while keeping up with classes. Not to mention that you must do some prep before the next Spring retake.
If the ACT is your better score, then you’ve wasted SAT prep time and money, in addition to the SAT fees. Vice versa if the SAT is your better test.
The solution to taking both SAT and ACT
The solution: Find out whether the SAT or ACT test is right for you upfront. Then focus on getting teh best score on that test. At the end of the day, it will save your time, money, and stress over which one. This can also help you with determining a reasonable college list. When you submit your scores to colleges, you can do so with confidence.
We are now offering the SAT/ACT Comparison Test for students in the Dayton and Cincinnati area. If you’d like to find out if the SAT or ACT is right for you, please register here.