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My SAT score is going up and I’m happy to finally be making some progress. And while I still plan on taking the ACT, I’m not sure if my score will be as strong. I plan on applying to mostly West Coast schools and my parents keep saying that WC schools prefer the ACT. Does anyone have any insight on whether this is legit and if my time would be better spent preparing for ACT?


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answered on
Accepted answer

The SAT is more popular amongst colleges on the West & East coast so if you're applying and you have gotten a score high enough to get into west coast schools such as UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, or San Diego State (which is around 1380-1510) then I suggest you keep on improving your SAT score so you can get into that range or higher. But if you're more well suited to the ACT and do better on practice ACT tests than on PSATs then I suggest trying out the ACT instead because their still willing to accept ACT scores as long as it fits into their range (which for most West coast schools is around 29-34)

answered on

I've heard this too but I think it's mostly a myth? Especially when it comes to "elite" schools and them preferring the SAT. I think the ACT might be more common to take in the mid-west compared to the coasts but that doesn't mean schools prefer one test over the other. At this point in time most colleges say on their website which tests they accept and if they accept both the ACT and the SAT then they're going to treat both the same way.

You need to decide how comfortable you are with taking each test and it might make sense to focus on that one more than the other. If your SAT score is improving and is already better than your ACT it might make sense to continue focusing on that. If they're similar scores now it might be a bit trickier. Personally I think each test fits a certain kind of student and it can be difficult to learn which one suits you. This article was helpful ( but taking the practice tests is also a great way to figure out which you prefer.