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SAT vs ACT
The first decision leading to College admission and scholarships
A Decision Maker Helper
Other Considerations
  • The SAT and ACT are slightly different in concept and strategy , The population used (college bound students) and the predicted outcome ( success in College) should be close to equivalent. The academic skills measured are somewhat equivalent but the proportion of the academic skills vary.
     
  • The best way to measure your skills prior to the SAT or ACT is to take the test makers “pre test;” the PSAT 10 and the PSAT 8/9 for the SAT, or the ACT Aspire, the PreACT, the Plan, or 8th grade Explore for the ACT. The pretest questions are from the same question pool as the real SAT or ACT.
     
  • If you have taken the ACT or SAT pretest or a practice version you may be able to better predict your performance on the other test. Example: if you score significantly higher on the Math, then the SAT Math would probably result in a higher total score. High Science scores when other scores are lower could indicate the ACT as your best test . However, chances are that other students with high science skills may also choose the ACT. Being compared to other high skilled science student might effect scores.
     
  • Most students will score relatively the same but there are many exceptions. Previous “Slam Dunk Scenarios” are only a few.
     
  • How many Testing Saturdays do you have? 6 to 8 weeks to register take and receive scores. then do it again = up to 4 months.
     
  • Valid and reliable sample test are available . See the test websites (links on testbest.net)
     
  • Testing is not an exact science, Scores and your performance will vary on any given day.
     
  • Taking both tests is always an option. Consider your time, cost, prep time and the benefit of duplicate sectional scores on the same test. i.e. the highest SAT sectional score (Math or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) will be usually used if both are SAT Scores. Most college and scholarship donors consider the highest ACT duplicate composite scores. The NCAA (College sports) will take the highest of the 4 sectional score from multiple exams. Check with your perspective colleges and or scholarship donors.
     
  • The SAT Math, for most is comparable to the ACT Math, same for Reading and English/ Writing. Science score is on the ACT only.  The SAT does not have a "Science Test" but science-related skills are merged into other parts of the SAT and a sub-score is provided. None of these areas are a perfect match.  Both the SAT and ACT have optional essays and are scored separately.
     
  • The ACT Science is a loner and may be the most crucial area to your decision. The ACT Science "reasoning" test has 38% "Data Representation" (mostly graphs) and is considered a "Math skill" by many. Obviously any future Einstein would opt for the ACT with Science. A practice Science ACT test (35 minutes) or an ACT pretest may be the best predictor.  A science sub-score is also available with the SAT.
     
  • Look at your performance on these and other tests. Most students know their strengths and weaknesses.
     
  • Look at the 4 basic academic areas., find the test that fits your skills. Most students score within the same range on both test.