To SAT, or not to SAT? That is, indeed, the question. Now that both the SAT and ACT are accepted at the majority of colleges, students are faced with an important decision. Here are the two most important questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to prepare for the SAT or ACT.
1. What do the schools say?
The vast majority of schools accept both the SAT and ACT, but some schools prefer one over the other. Make sure that you’ve done your research and are aware if the schools you’re applying to have a preference.
2. Would you rather take a content-based exam, or a strategy-based exam?
The SAT is a critical reasoning test (meaning that the questions are the hard part); the ACT is more like a test you’d take in school (where the content is the hard part).
The ACT covers (slightly) more difficult material than the SAT, but the questions are much more straightforward. Preparation for the ACT revolves mainly around reviewing content and developing strong time management skills.
The SAT, as a critical reasoning exam, is less content-based and more strategy-based. If you look at the SAT and are completely bewildered by the questions (particularly in the math section), don’t panic! There are simple strategies that you can implement to cut through the confusing aspects of the questions and dramatically increase your score. While SAT prep includes content review and time management, the most important aspect is learning how to tackle the exam itself.
Only YOU know what test is best for you!
While the majority of students perform comparably on both tests, most will prefer one over the other. The only way for you to know for sure is to take a practice test for each exam, and see what works best for you!