SAT and ACT FAQs: Should I Take the SAT or the ACT?

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The most famous, or infamous, standardized tests are the SAT and ACT. The question is which test should you take?
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According to Kaplan, www.kaptest.com, many colleges and universities now accept both ACT and SAT scores, giving you the option of choosing which test you prefer to take. Since both testing options offer a practice exam, the first step is to simply take each of those practice exams and get a feel for each one. Naturally, you want to take the actual test for whichever one you feel comfortable with. The following list of questions (which we will answer in detail) can help you determine this:

- What is the difference between the ACT and the SAT?

- Which test should I take?

- How do I know which test would be better for the particular college(s) I'd like to attend?

- Are there any other issues I should be aware of?

What Is the Difference Between the ACT and the SAT?

First and foremost, the tests, according to Kaplan, are traditionally thought of in two different ways. The SAT is considered to be a test to measure your critical thinking skills and test your ability to analyze and solve problems in reading, math, and writing. The ACT is considered to be a more 'curriculum-based' exam, testing college preparedness in the areas of English, reading, math, science by calling on information you should have learned from high school coursework.

Which Test Should I Take?

There isn't a clear-cut answer for this question. The best anyone can do for you is to give you some considerations when determining which test to take. For example, most schools look at both tests when considering your acceptance, but you can do a little research to see if a particular school prefers one over the other. Some schools may consider only the SAT in the application process, but will look at the ACT as supplemental material.

Furthermore, you need to think about how well you do on tests. Again, the ACT is more 'curriculum-based.' Thus, if you are a plug-and-chug type of person that can quickly apply what you have learned, take the ACT. The SAT, if you recall, measures critical thinking skills. In this case, if you have faith in your ability to 'think outside the box,' then you should take the SAT.

How Do I know Which Test Is Preferred for the College I Want To Attend?

You will need to visit the school's website or contact the admissions office to find out specifics about how they handle the ACT and the SAT.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind the following other considerations when determining what test you want to take:

- The SAT does not test science

- The writing test is optional on the ACT

- The SAT is longer by 45 minutes

- The SAT math questions involve geometry and algebra II while the ACT goes up to trigonometry

- The SAT places more stress on vocabulary

- There is no penalty for guessing when taking the ACT, but there are penalties for guessing on SAT answers

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George Mason University

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American University

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The George Washington University

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  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

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Johns Hopkins University

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  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Arts in Science Writing

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