Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
I’m about to be a senior and I was just wondering should I take the SAT or ACT. I know people’s opinions differ with some preferring one over the other, but I just want a general opinion. Most people say take both practice tests and see how you do but i don’t really think i have the time to do that. SAT testing starts next month and ACT starts the month after so i really just need to pick one now and study hard for it.
Majority of the people I have spoken with have said that the ACT is easier to take/do good on but the con is that they give you less time to answer than the SAT. I have read that the ACT has more straight-forward questions and easier concepts, but the SAT has a longer time. So my question is for anyone who has taken both or know a lot about these tests, which one do you advise me to take? Right now I’m leaning on the ACT because I‘d rather have easier questions just with less time than harder questions with more time but anyone please just let me know.
There is no official advantage over taking SAT over ACT in terms of admissions but schools have a slight bias towards the SAT since it is older and thus they have more experience with it. If you take the ACT you will not be any less qualified than if you take the SAT, but the SAT is taken by more people. If you are around the same score in either test, just take the test that you are the most comfortable with. If you don’t know honestly just sit down and spend two days taking practice tests. If you’re so antsy about “wasting” time then you can prep in between or do some studying in between sections to feel like you’re being more productive.
IMO here is the breakdown:
ACT is better if… you do well under pressure, are good at science/statistical analysis, are not too great at reading or don’t have exceptional reading comprehension skills, are an efficient test-taker who doesn’t need lots of time to think things over. It’s a little bit easier than the SAT and also carries a little bit of a disadvantage where if you’re going for elite schools you need a top score (33+) which, compared to the SAT equivalent, is many fewer wrong answers. The curve is worse for ACT than SAT.
SAT is better if… you don’t do well under (timed) pressure, are good at complex reading analysis (ACT reading is shorter, more to-the-point and less thematic where SAT reading is polar- broad themes and/or highly specific questions), you’re aiming for a decent score like 1300-1400+ cause there is a beneficial curve in that range.
The biggest thing for me was timing; I’m actually slightly better at the ACT than SAT but taking the exam was immensely more stressful than the SAT due to timing constraints. I prefer having lots of extra time to check my work, not panic if I get stuck, or think more deeply about my questions/answer choices.
So the ACT is the base line at most Midwest/great plain schools. The SAT is the baseline everywhere else. There is no preference to either one though.
The ACT you have around a minute per question but the questions themselves are more straightforward. The ACT also has a science section that is part graph reading and part science. If you took biology chemistry physics you should do fine.
The SAT you get more time but they are more intricate. Essentially it’s more 3 step than 2 step (metaphor). Also the SAT has subject tests that are considered in admissions especially at the ivies. The ACT doesn’t have that.
Hope this helps and comment if you need clarification.