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Although the SAT test has been commonly believed to be more popular than the ACT test, thanks to rumors that top tier colleges look upon scores from the SAT more favorably, all colleges that require standardized test scores accept scores from both tests.
College admissions counselors have also stated that there is no bias in their decision-making in regards to a student’s test selection.
The ACT test is a valid alternative to the SAT test, and warrants consideration from college applicants. Here are some differences between the two tests, and three things to keep in mind to see if the ACT test is for you.
1. Where Do You Go to School?
Geographically, the ACT test tends to be more popular in the Mid-West, where some schools utilize the ACT test as their statewide testing regimen. If you live in one of these states, you should strongly consider taking the ACT. However, even if you live in a state where the ACT is not part of the statewide curriculum, earning a high score is still possible with sufficient ACT prep.
2. Do You Like to Crunch Numbers?
One of the biggest differences between the ACT test and the SAT test used to be that only the ACT had a Science section. However, since the revisions to the exam, the SAT includes science passages in its reading section as well. Because the sections pertaining to science in both tests are testing reading comprehension than actual scientific knowledge, the English sections are more similar than ever.
A pronounced difference is now in the tests' Math portions: the ACT allows the use of a calculator for its Math sections, while the new SAT does not allow a calculator at all. Those who are weaker in mental math should consider the advantages of having a calculator on the ACT.
Read about our 3 MUST-KNOW SAT READING TIPS
3. Do Your Colleges Accept Superscores?
A superscore is a compilation of a student's best scores in each section on a standardized test throughout multiple attempts. So if one student did well on the Math portion of the ACT his first try, but scored higher on the English portion his second try: he can combine his higher scores from both attempts for a superscore.
All colleges accept ACT scores, but not all of them receive superscores. Some colleges accept superscores, but also ask for the rest of the student's scores. Check if colleges you want to apply to accept superscores with this list provided by The Princeton Review, and prepare accordingly. Improvement is always encouraged; however, consistent performance throughout all your attempts is essential to present a convincing superscore.
The ACT is a strong choice to take, score well on, and show off to colleges. With the changes made to the SAT, the two standardized tests may seem similar, but certain nuances still separate them. If you are still unsure, or would like to distinguish these nuances firsthand, feel free to give us a call at 212-686-5077 or leave us an email at email@example.com to schedule a free ACT and SAT practice test at our convenient location in Midtown NYC.
After you choose to take either the ACT or SAT test, THiNK PREP offers custom courses, from 1 on 1 tutoring to small group classes, set by experts, to help you reach your target score. If you live farther away, online courses are available to you. Whether it's in or out the classroom, don't miss out on 15 years of test prep experience!