a year ago
Admissions Advice


Do colleges have a preference for the sat or act? Or does it make no difference whether you take the sat or act?


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3 answers

a year ago[edited]

So no matter what schools do not prefer one over the other. However some schools do admissions based off of one of them and thus the others equivalent. U Iowa uses a formula for admission and it uses the ACT in the formula. If you submit the SAT it will be “translated” into its ACT score. But neither are more impactful.

As a rule of thumb midwestern schools use the ACT and the coasts uses SAT.

The only difference between them is the test itself. ACT has less time per question but less complex question it also has a science section which is essentially a basic biology and chemistry with a lot of graph interpretation. SAT has more time with “multilayer” questions. It doesn’t have the science section. Also the SAT has subject tests are highly valued at elite schools. Pre-pandemic HYP required some SAT subject and if I remember correctly it was 2 or 3.

Hope this helps please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to clarify!


a year ago

I would say almost all colleges in the US take both and have no preference. It all depends on which one is suited more for you. For example, I took both the SAT and ACT and tanked the SAT because in my opinion it's more analytical and focuses more on on-the-spot thinking. ACT was better for me personally because although it's quick, the questions were more knowledge-based (if you generally do well in school academically and retain a lot of what you learn, this might be good for you!). Take a few practice tests of both ACT and SAT online and you can generally tell which structure is more suited for you.

a year ago


I don't think so colleges have a preference over sat or act.

I have seen many students who gave only one exam.

Some only gave act and some only gave sat.

You should practice some sample papers of both and see in which you are comfortable and go with that exam.

It's totally up to you to give either sat or act.


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