Should you take the ACT or SAT exam as a prospective college student? After all, aren’t they pretty much the same thing?
Well to keep things simple- yes, you should definitely take both. But we don’t want to end with that, so lets first take a look at some of the basic differences.
Reason #1- College Preferences
Every college on the planet is different. Their staffs are different, how they run, their priorities and fees, etc. This is great in some ways, because it lets us go to a school that we can best identify with.
Well one of these differences is the college’s preferred exam to look at. Some schools will accept the ACT, but primarily look at the SAT exam. This may be because they think it’s better at testing the student’s knowledge and application of the knowledge they’ve learned.
Likewise, others mainly want to look at the ACT. They may just like the exam’s structure and question bank better.
The problem is that if you choose to only do one exam or the other, your application to a school may not go so well. If you only took the ACT and the school prefers the SAT, you’re out of luck.
Reason #2: Pick the Best Score
To be honest, most schools are willing to look at both the ACT and SAT. In that case, it makes even more sense to take both tests.
By taking both tests, you’re almost guaranteed to do better on one test than the other. It may not necessarily be a LOT better, but you might be surprised. When I took the ACT, my equivalent to the SAT was several hundred points higher! This definitely gave me an advantage that I didn’t have before. Here is a score comparison chart of the two exams.
Reason #3: Identify Strengths
Let’s say that you took both tests. You did okay on one, but you bombed the other. But at the end of the day, you’re not happy with either score.
What do you do? If I were you, I’d focus on studying solely on the test that you did okay on. So if you completely bombed the SAT, focus all of your studying efforts on the ACT.
The great thing about that is it allows you to spend the majority of your energy on the test you’re better at.
After all, there’s no reason to turn your weak SAT score into a strength here. Instead, it makes more sense to just do very well on the ACT and submit that score to your prospective college.
At the end of the day, it’s worth taking both tests. You should take the ACT and SAT exams because doing so gives you more options and more insight into your strengths.
Plus, you just can’t beat that great feeling of getting your second test score back and finding out you did much better than the first!