- Most colleges now take both the ACT and the SAT
- ACT used to be more common on the east coast, now is becoming more popular here, although some parents aren’t aware of it as an option.
- ACT is a better test in a lot of ways, including:
Generally far more straightforward than the SAT
No vocab questions
Grammar section is easier
Math questions are more like what students are used to in school (SAT often has questions you would only find on its tests)
Good for students who are strong in Math and Science
Grading can be more lenient- i.e., no points are taken off for wrong answers, unlike the SAT where you have 1/4 of a point subtracted for any wrong answer.
Students often find the reading comprehension passages more direct and clear than the SAT’s passages
Essay is optional
Who should take the ACT:
Any student who has taken or is taking Algebra II
Any student who is taking and/or prepping for the SAT (our suggestion is to take both, see which one a student does better on, and then take that one again)
Who should not take the ACT:
Any student who is very weak in math and science, and extremely strong in reading/grammar/vocab
Any student who has severe trouble with timing on a multiple choice test, i.e. a slow reader…the ACT is a push time-wise (60 minutes 60 questions for the math) for almost all students, so that needs to be addressed in prep (timed sections).
The SAT is better for the very few students who are brilliant with grammar and vocab- the scoring is two reading/grammar sections to one math section, or 2/3s to 1/3, so it works in these types of student’s favor. Also, students who struggle with timing or reading speed may find that the SAT is more lenient with time overall.
ACT includes one fairly easy grammar section, one math section, one reading section comprised of 4 different types of reading material, and one science section, which does not require previous scientific knowledge other than an ability to read graphs and tables.