How To Decide
Most students do comparably well on both the ACT and the SAT I. However, some feel much more comfortable with the ACT, while others feel more comfortable with the SAT. The best way to decide between the exams is to take some mock tests with us and compare not only the scores, but also how you feel with each test. Once the mock scores are in, we will be able to help you decide which test may better suit your strengths.
You can start tutoring for either test even before you make a decision about which test to take since the basic test prep techniques are the same for both tests. Some students will even want to prep for and take both the ACT and the SAT. There is nothing wrong with this, although it can add to the stress of junior year to have two different tests to prepare for.
It is important to note that the ACT Assessment is now accepted by all colleges and universities in the U.S., including all of the Ivy League schools. In fact, a higher percentage of students now take the ACT than the SAT.
If you are weak in math
Most students tell us that they find the ACT math easier than the SAT math. If you know your math formulas and equations and can plug in numbers and solve, you’ll generally do very well on the ACT. It is important to note that the ACT allows a calculator on the entire math section, while the SAT includes a 25-minute no-calculator math section.
If you are weak in verbal skills
Students are given less time to read passages and answer corresponding questions on the ACT than they are on the SAT. Also, the ACT Science section is really another reading comprehension section, where you are asked to “read” and interpret experiments, graphs, charts, and data – you have to know very little science, in fact, to do well on the ACT Science section, but you do need strong reading skills. Students who have difficulty on reading comprehension exercises may prefer the SAT.
If you have trouble with graphs
Both the ACT and SAT test graph reading skills on their respective math sections. The SAT also tests graph reading in both its Reading and Writing and Language sections, while the ACT—as stated before—has a dedicated Science section which involves reading a number of graphs and charts in a more limited timeframe. While every student will need some graph reading skills, those who read graphs slowly may prefer the SAT.
If you have any difficulty with timing on standardized tests
(i.e. finishing on time) The ACT packs a lot more material into each section. Due to this time pressure, you will usually find that you have much more difficulty with the ACT than you do with the SAT.
Come take a mock with us before the start of 11th grade and we’ll help you decide which test is best for you.