ACT vs. SAT Which Test Should be Taken?

test

Both the SAT and the ACT are examinations used in the college admissions process for the purpose of rating a student’s abilities and likelihood for success in college. For many students, testing is not the best way to measure a student’s ability. Although there are more schools moving away from this admissions requirement (see www.fairtest.org for a list), they are still a minority.

The ACT is a test based on a high school curriculum. The best way to prepare for the test is by taking a challenging course load in high school. Tutoring can helpful for many students, but not everyone improves their scores through tutoring.

The SAT is designed to measure aptitude in order to predict success in college. Recent research is finding that a student’s GPA is a better predictor of success in college than the SAT, and this is probably true for the ACT as well. Tutoring is typically helpful for the SAT as there are various strategies (e.g., whether to guess or not) that can be implemented to improve scores.

The ACT and SAT test different areas of knowledge and ask different types of questions. Each can be more challenging than the other is certain areas. If a student is strong in math and has difficulty attending to details, the ACT is the test to take. If a student has a strong vocabulary and is challenged by reading graphs and charts, the SAT should be taken. Generally, students at Eagle Hill haveperformed better on the ACT than they have on the SAT.

If you are uncertain which test to take, it is recommended that students take both the PLAN (pre-ACT) and PSAT (pre-SAT) during the sophomore year in order to see which examination the student prefers. Students are also welcome to take both the ACT and SAT if they are so inclined. Accommodations: Prior approval for accommodations are required for the PSAT, SAT, and the ACT and are determined and granted by each testing agency. An evaluation (disability documentation) similar to the one used for admission to Eagle Hill is required for approval. Check each agency’s websites for documentation requirements. ACT requires that testing be completed within three years of the date of application for accommodations while SAT will allow for testing that is five years old.

 

SAT/ACT Conversion of Scores

SAT to ACT

ACT to SAT

SAT

Verbal + Math

Score

ACT

Composite

Score

ACT

Composite

Score

SAT

Verbal + Math

Score

36 1600

1570-1600

35 35

1580

1510-1560

34 34 1530
1450-1500 33 33

1460

1390-1440

32 32 1410
1350-1380 31 31

1360

1310-1340

30 30 1320
1270-1300 29 29

1280

1230-1260

28 28 1240
1200-1220 27 27

1210

1160-1190

26 26 1170
1120-1150 25 25

1140

1090-1110

24 24 1100
1050-1080 23 23

1060

1010-1040

22 22 1030
970-1000 21 21

990

930-960

20 20 950
890-920 19 19

910

840-880

18 18 860
800-830 17 17

820

750-790

16 16 770
700-740 15 15

720

630-690

14 14 670
570-620 13 13

600

510-560

12 12 540
450-500 11 11

480

410-440

10 10

430

400 1-9 1-9

400

Adapted from The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or A.D.D.   © 2005

 

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