Should I take both the ACT and the SAT, or just the SAT?Answered
I am a high school junior and am wondering which college tests I should take.
Note that starting with the September 2020 ACT national test date, test takers will have the options to take the test online and to retest by section. For example, if you earned decent scores across all sections except for the science one, you can retake just the science portion; you won't have to take the entire test again. The SAT currently does not include these options. The SAT tends to be more generous with time (i.e., more time per question) than the ACT does. Both tests have optional writing sections that you can choose whether or not to take. If you haven't taken any practice tests, start with that first to assess which test is more fit for you. Keep in mind that your SAT total score (400-1600) is the sum of your score from the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section (200-800) and your score from the Math Section (200-800), whereas your ACT Composite score (1-36) is the average of your four test scores from English (1-36), reading (1-36), mathematics (1-36), and science (1-36).
In addition to whichever test you choose to take, you might want to consider taking SAT subject tests. For example, say you want to major in a science-related field. The ACT has a science section, but the SAT does not. Let's say that you tend to do better on the SAT than on the ACT, but you're worried about how this will look since the SAT doesn't have a science section. To include science, you can take SAT subject tests, such as physics, biology, or chemistry.
There's definitely no need to take both tests - college accept either, and you're better off using the extra time you'd spend studying for a second test on other aspects of the admissions process, like improving your extracurriculars.
Here's info from a CollegeVine article: "It’s worth noting that no colleges currently require students to submit scores for both the SAT and the ACT, and most schools accept either standardized test. Rather than studying for both the SAT and ACT, it’s wise to spend time improving other aspects of your college application. For example, you may want to work on your GPA or improve your extracurriculars."
If you're having trouble deciding between the two, feel free to check the article out:
So the SAT places more emphasis on reading and English skills, while the ACT is more math based. Pick whichever one plays to your strengths!
No need to take both! Take a timed practice test for each and see which one comes more naturally to you, then study for than one. Most schools accept either but double-check that the colleges you want to apply to accept your test (but schools that don't except both are rare). There aren't really any benefits to taking both. also, the ACT is a lot more fast-paced than the ACT, so if you like to think about your answers and need more time on math, the SAT may be better.