If you’re reading this blog post, then I’m sure you’ve already heard of the two most popular standardized tests in the United States: the ACT and the SAT. However, you probably had a lot of questions on which test to take and why. The answer to this question is difficult to answer due to the fact that each student has different strengths. But since this isn’t a very satisfying answer, we’re going to provide you with the tools that will help you decide which standardized test is the best for yourself.
Should I Take Both?
The first question you might have is “why not take both?”. While we won’t stop you from taking both the ACT and the SAT, we at Eden Learning generally don’t recommend it as it requires you to learn two different test taking methods that we provide during tutoring. We personally believe that the hits to performance on each test outweighs the benefits of taking both. As such, we recommend that the student sticks with taking just one of the two available tests. There are benefits to taking both the ACT and the SAT, but they don’t explicitly improve your chances of getting into your dream college. Instead, it’ll help your application process become easier by reducing the number of things that you need to complete. For instance, the ACT can cover certain subject requirements for a college application, while those same colleges may ask you to take Subject Tests in addition to taking the SAT.
All in all, you must be responsible for understanding what scores your target schools require as a part of your application, and figuring out the best way to complete them. Of course, you can always ask your counselors or tutors to discuss your options, but ultimately the decision comes down to you and your preferences. So make sure to understand what it is you want! Now, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each test to help you make your decision of which test to take.
The SAT is a test administered by the College Board and is accepted by nearly all of the colleges and universities in the US due to the popularity of the exam. Recently, the College Board has also partnered up with the Khan Academy to allow easier access to study materials, not to mention a vast array of resources online (including ours; check out our new Youtube page, where we teach you how to solve questions on the College Board practice tests found online!). We personally prefer that students take the SAT due to the lower level of critical thinking required. Another reason to take the SAT is the fact that there are fewer subjects to study, because the SAT has three sections: the Evidence-based Reading and Writing section and the Math section. Because there are fewer subjects to learn, you can spend more time studying each section more comprehensively in comparison to the ACT.
Lastly, we understand that the SAT is more familiar to students who may have taken a PSAT exam previously. Since the two tests are administered by the same company, students will naturally feel that the SAT is more familiar in comparison to the ACT. While familiarity might not seem like an important factor to consider while taking an exam, it is important to feel comfortable in high-pressure situations so that you can keep your calm. Familiarity may not be a large score-deciding factor, but it can be the difference between an extra 200 points that you need to get into your top-choice schools. You can always learn more about the SAT here on the College Board website, so take a look around!
The ACT is a test administered by the ACT Organization and is also accepted by nearly all US colleges and universities. Over 60% of graduating seniors of ’17 took the ACT, which is an extremely high number (2,030,038 to be exact). As such, there will be a great number of resources that will help you get a better score. Because there are four sections, you may have to cover a larger area of study. However, there are a couple other reasons why the ACT may be easier for you over the SAT. The first is that the math section does not have a separate calculator and non-calculator section. If you are more comfortable with a calculator, taking the ACT may give you that peace of mind over taking the SAT. Another positive of taking the ACT is that there is a smaller emphasis placed on vocabulary compared to that of the SAT. While learning vocabulary may be easy or difficult depending on your strengths, the ACT is the clear winner if you prefer not to learn a lot of words. While there are a plethora (which means a large amount by the way) of other reasons why you may prefer the ACT over the SAT, we believe that these are the biggest reasons why one would rather take the ACT over the SAT.
So What Should I Do?
All in all, we want you to know that there is no right or wrong answer. We can tell you everything about each test, but ultimately, the decision is up to you. There are many ways you can go about finishing your standardized tests and in some cases, you may even feel compelled to take both! And if that is the case, we want to help you do the best you can. However, don’t take both tests if the only reason is because one of your friends did it. The important thing to think about is which one will make your life easiest during this busy period while achieving a high score on the exam. We hope that this information was helpful to you, and feel free to look around our website which has a lot of resources available for you in your studies. If you need any extra help, Eden Learning is currently providing a free consultation to students and parents who are interested in our tutoring services. If this sounds good to you, sign up below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!