When it comes around to high school, taking either the SAT or ACT is an important precollege step to take to start preparing for college admissions. It is generally recommended that students start taking these tests in the 10th and 11th grades of their high school years. But you may be wondering - which standardized test should I take?
There are two main tests colleges may request on their applications, the SAT or the ACT. Below, we point out some of the key differences between the two tests and some aspects to consider when deciding which test you should take.
Score Range: 400-1600
There is also a test called the PSAT, which is essentially a Preliminary SAT. This is often taken in the form of the PSAT 10 (10th grade) and PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade). These tests are generally offered by high schools, so you must take them through your school.
Score Range: 1-36
The optional Essay - should I take it or not?
The SAT recently removed its essay option to adapt with the ever-changing college admissions process. However, the ACT still offers the essay, but it is optional and up to you if you choose to take the essay portion or not. When applying for college, you will generally write a common/coalition application essay along with supplemental essays your college requests. This is a great place to display your essay writing skills, which is why the standardized testing essay scores may be undermined by college admissions offices. Check to see if your college or university would like to see an essay along with your SAT or ACT score and decide based on that.
How to decide which one to take
In the end, most colleges will accept both tests, so it truly depends on your strengths and preferences when deciding which test you should take. If you are interested in trying out both tests to see which one you should take, try taking one practice test on a Saturday, and then the other test on another Saturday while stimulating testing conditions in both tests. Compare how you felt during the testing experience and also how you scored to factor in which one you should take. Comment down below any questions you may have, and we will answer them to the best of our ability!
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