Which Test Should I Take–ACT or SAT?
I suggest you take both. Taking both test can greatly benefit you and this is why.
The ACT and SAT are nationally recognized standardized tests and common admission requirements for all US schools. Each test measures proficiency in problem solving and reading comprehension — skills essential for college success.
Because all US colleges and universities accept scores from either the ACT or SAT, there’s no advantage in taking one test over the other. This means you can apply to the same schools, regardless of which test you decide to take! But what about the actual content of the two tests? Both tests contain similar sections in a predetermined order, with each section appearing just once. Both tests offer:
– An optional essay section (consider writing the essay!)
– Rights-only scoring, meaning you will not be penalized for incorrect answers
– Entirely passage-based reading and English writing questions
Despite the similarities, there are ways in which the ACT and SAT differ. For one, the SAT is slightly longer than the ACT and the number of questions and time limit is different for corresponding sections. The ACT test length is 3 hours and 35 minutes (215 minutes) with the writing section included–but the actual time is longer due to breaks. Each section has to be taken in a chunk and it takes between 30-60 minutes.
How is the ACT scored?
First, the number of questions you got right on each separate section is tallied. The result is known as a raw score. This is simply the number of correct answers you submitted. This number is not readily apparent on your score report. Instead, you see a score that is scaled. The raw score is converted to a scaled score ranging from 1-36. These are the scores headlining the score report and are the numbers you see as averages or benchmarks. The scaled scores for each section are averaged to calculate the composite score. Fractions are rounded up to the nearest whole number. Your composite score is the first number that appears on the score report as an indicator of success on the test.
The major difference, however, is not so much the length or how they are scored but how the ACT is shared with colleges.
Did you know that you have options when it comes to sending ACT scores to colleges. Here is the scoop on the ACT’s score reporting policy: Each time a student takes the ACT, the scores from each test are kept as a separate record. If a student takes the ACT multiple times, he or she can select which test date scores to submit to colleges. Students can select up to four colleges to send ACT scores to at the time of registration, and this is included in the basic registration fee.
Important: Because your can choose which set(s) of ACT scores to send to colleges, I recommend that you leave the college code selection portion blank at the time of registration and order score reports after you see all of your ACT scores.
Q/A: I get asked all the time: If I want to select the name of the colleges at the time of the test, how can I do so when I am taking the test in April, but not applying until the fall of senior year?
My answer: Start Early! Make a list of colleges and have a strategy.
There are many factors to consider when applying. Having a strategy and executing it makes you a winner, no matter what.
I offer comprehensive help and guidance with the entire college planning process and would be happy to talk.