Tutor Doctor Northern Colorado provides a FREE diagnostic exam to determine which test is right for you? ACT vs SAT and with test would best be appropriate for your student’s success. Getting into college is competitive, therefore, we want to make sure your student is taking the test that best maximizes their potential to do well, score high, and get into the college of his or her dreams.
Students may take whichever test they prefer (assuming there are available testing locations for both tests). If you’re not sure which test your child would prefer, consider the key differences between the ACT and SAT. Some students find that the ACT caters to their strengths more so than the SAT, and vice versa. Our diagnostic test will provide insight into which test to take.
Neither the SAT nor the ACT is harder than the other – but each test benefits a different type of student. It’s essential that you figure out which test is best suited for you, so that you can achieve the highest scores possible.
January through June: Students should take the SAT and/or ACT a MINIMUM of 1 time. By June, all rising seniors should have taken at least ONE of these standardized tests.
SENIOR YEAR: September through December: Students should take either the ACT or SAT at least one more time if they haven’t done so already. Statistics show that students are likely to improve their score on both tests if they take it a second time.
The best way to prepare for any ACT, SAT or Subject test is to PRACTICE! Make sure that your student is practicing with real tests that come from ACT or SAT (aka “disclosed tests”) such that are used at Tutor Doctor Northern Colorado.
So which one should you or your child take? Here are the two tests broken down:
The ACT takes 3 hours and 25 minutes with the writing test, while the SAT is slightly longer at 3 hours and 45 minutes. The ACT has four sections — English, math, reading and science — students take one at a time. The writing test, if you choose it, takes place at the end, according to the Princeton Review. The SAT covers three topics — critical reading, math and writing.
The ACT has a science section, and the SAT does not. The science questions don’t require in-depth knowledge of biology or chemistry. Instead, they test your reasoning and analysis skills by having you read charts and graphs.
Both exams test basic math, algebra and geometry. The ACT adds trigonometry.
Both exams test vocabulary, but the SAT focuses more on it. The ACT is usually more straightforward in the wording of its questions. The ACT tends to be more centered around content.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. There’s no penalty for guessing. The SAT is scored on a 1600-point scale. If you guess an incorrect answer, a quarter of a point is subtracted from your score.
Though the SAT was the more popular of the two for years, that’s no longer the case. The SAT is widely accepted by schools, and as of 2007, all four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. take ACT scores.
Some Ivy League schools require SAT subject tests in addition to an entrance exam, said David Hawkins, executive director for educational content and policy with the National Association for College Admission Counseling. But those could be paired with an ACT score. So, again: Colleges don’t care which you take.
About 1.7 million students in the class of 2014 took the SAT. About 1.8 million took the ACT in 2014. The ACT’s numbers overtook the SAT in 2012, the Washington Post reported, but both are growing. The trend of Midwestern students taking the ACT and East Coast students taking the SAT is long over. “There’s no geographic boundary any more,” Hawkins said.
Brown recommended students focus on studying for one test, not both. It’s hard to say which kind of student will do better on which test, so she said juniors should take practice tests online to see if they like the ACT or SAT better. In the event you do take them both, here’s a handy score-conversion chart.
But — surprise! — you don’t have to take either test in order to go to college. Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, Colorado is among schools that don’t require standardized tests for admission.
Based on this information, you should take the SAT if you:
That means you should take the ACT if you: