Advice for Juniors

Michaela Go
November 16, 2009

Many students wonder what the difference is between the ACT and SAT. Most colleges accept both ACT and SAT scores and view them as equals; the trickier part is deciding which test to take.

The SAT is more based on critical thinking and reasoning. The ACT is more curriculum-based, measuring what the student has learned in school.

The SAT includes three categories, critical reading, writing, and math, which are broken into 10 smaller sections. The ACT includes English, math, reading, science and an optional writing test. The test is broken up into five sections corresponding to the categories. For some, switching from math to reading to writing every 25 minutes or so seems distracting, while to others, it may seem refreshing.

According to college counselors, for high achievers, the ACT might be easier, since it more closely resembles a school-given test. Bright, but not necessarily hard working students may do better on the SAT since it relies more on reasoning.

If you’re still unsure about which test to take, free practice tests can be found on test-prep school websites such as theprincetonreview.com. Concordance tables, which show SAT and ACT equivalent scores can be found online.

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