Should I Take SAT or ACT?

Although a number of schools and tutors suggest that students take both the SAT and the ACT before deciding which test to focus on, most high school juniors don't have a lot of time to study for two tests, never mind one! So if you're trying to figure out which test is better for you, and you don't want to put yourself through the agony of sitting through 6+ hours of practice tests, here's a shortcut. Of course some people will do brilliantly on both tests, but if you're a "lopsided" student (like I was), naturally better at either English or Math, here are some tips.

Take the SAT if:

* Your Verbal skills are significantly stronger than your Math skills: the SAT only covers through Algebra II; the ACT covers through Trigonometry

* You're a naturally good standardized tester who's good at spotting traps in questions

* You have a strong sense of logic

* You're good at seeing "big picture" ideas and deal well with abstraction

* You have a large vocabulary and read extensively on your own

* You're willing to spend time figuring out how the College Board wants you to think

* You're a masochist (just kidding!)

Take the ACT if:

* You're much stronger in Math than you are in English: if you're ok at English but great at Math, ACT English is usually a lot more manageable than SAT English.

* You don't have a large vocabulary and don't have months to spend memorizing vocab. words

* You're a fast reader. This is very important: the biggest issue that most students have with ACT Reading Comp. is the time limit. Even if you don't read a lot on your own, chances are you'll do decently if you can get through all four passage/question sets.

* You're a straightforward, detail-oriented thinker

* You don't want to bother strategizing about how to lose the fewest points: SAT takes off .25 points for every question you get wrong, ACT takes none


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