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Question: Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

Question from a reader: Does it matter if I take the SAT or the ACT? Is there a benefit to taking one or the other or should I take both?

๐Ÿค” SAT or ACT: Which One Should You Take? ๐Ÿค”

Deciding between the SAT and ACT is a common dilemma for college-bound high school students. The good news? For most students, it doesn’t matter much whether you take the SAT or ACT โ€“ either is accepted by virtually all colleges and universities! ๐ŸŽ“

But wait, there’s more! Depending on your particular academic strengths and weaknesses, there can be some advantages to taking one test over the other. Let’s dive in! ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ

๐Ÿ“œ A Brief History Lesson:

  • SAT: First administered in 1926, originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
    • Covers three main areas: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math (with and without a calculator)
    • Testing time: 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the optional Essay section)
    • Scored on a scale of 400-1600
  • ACT: Introduced in 1959 as competition to the SAT.
    • Covers four required sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science (plus an optional Writing test)
    • Testing time: 2 hours 55 minutes (add 40 minutes with the Writing section)
    • Scored on a scale of 1-36

๐ŸŽฏ Key Differences to Consider:

  1. The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not. ๐Ÿ”ฌ
    • If science is your forte, the ACT might play to your strengths!
  2. The SAT has a no-calculator Math section, unlike the ACT. ๐Ÿงฎ
    • If you heavily rely on a calculator, the ACT might be your best bet.
  3. The SAT tends to have more reading overall. ๐Ÿ“š
    • If you’re a slower reader, the ACT’s 4 medium-length passages might feel more manageable.
  4. Timing is slightly more generous on the SAT. โฐ
    • If you tend to work slowly and carefully, those extra seconds per question could make a difference.

๐ŸŽ‰ The Bottom Line:

Either the SAT or ACT is a perfectly good choice, and there’s no inherent advantage to one or the other in terms of college admissions. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Take a practice test for each one (available for free online) ๐Ÿ“
  2. See which test format feels more comfortable and natural to you ๐Ÿ˜Œ
  3. Focus your prep on that exam ๐Ÿ’ช
  4. Don’t feel obligated to take both tests (unless you have a specific reason to do so) ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๏ธ

The most important things are to choose an exam that plays to your strengths, put in consistent study time, and go into test day rested, confident, and ready to do your best. No matter which test you take, a strong score will help demonstrate your college readiness! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

You’ve got this! ๐Ÿ™Œ Best of luck with your test prep and college applications!

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