SAT vs. ACT – Which one should you take?

Grayson Joslin

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If you want to be admitted into the college of your choice, one of the biggest requirements is to take either the SAT or ACT. The SAT and ACT are standardized tests, with the SAT being administrated by the College Board since 1926, and the ACT being administrated by an organization of the same name and was introduced by Professor Everett Lindquist in 1959. Both tests bring back valuable information about the student taking the tests, and both tests are accepted by all colleges in the United States. Which test brings back more information and which test should you take your junior or senior year?

One of the biggest advantages to the SAT test is that there is a preliminary test to help students become familiarized with the SAT format called the PSAT. New Castle High School gives the PSAT to all sophomores and juniors every school year. Another advantage about the SAT is due to it being given by the College Board, students can qualify for scholarships, including the National Merit Scholarship, potentially saving a student hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The SAT lasts three hours, but there is a 50-minute essay portion that is optional. The SAT costs $47.50 for the required parts and $64.50 if the student decides to the optional essay. The students who are stronger in math may do better on the SAT than the ACT.

The ACT is also very popular among high school students wanting to get into college. The ACT has 215 questions compared to the 154 questions on the SAT. Students who are stronger in English may do better on the ACT than the SAT. The cost of the ACT is also marginally higher than the SAT. The ACT costs $50.50 for the exam, but bumps up to $67 if students decide to do the optional writing portion. However, many colleges do not recommend the writing portions of the ACT or the SAT. The ACT takes less time than the SAT, clocking in at two hours and 55 minutes.

In 2018, according to the US News and World Report, 2.1 million people take the SAT, while 1.9 million students take the ACT. Both tests are very much the same – but these tests are no easy cakewalk. The ACT and SAT are both similar and different – however it general does not matter what test you take, as most students now take both tests. No matter what test you take, make sure you study and be prepared – the colleges will be looking!

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