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The Differences Between the SAT and Act Might Not Be What You Think

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated

The Differences Between the SAT and Act Might Not Be What You Think

Confession: Sometimes I do things…and I don’t really know why.  For instance, when summer thunderstorms arrive I turn off the air conditioning and jump off of any phone conversation in progress.  Why? Because I’d watched my grandmama and mama do it. Not because of any scientific reasoning.  And to this very day I am cautious about crossing black cats, though there’s no real reason why I should be. 
I’ve had this same line of reasoning when it came time for me to take the SAT or ACT in high school.  For some odd reason I felt like most colleges preferred the SAT over the ACT.  Sooner than we think it will be time for our oldest to decide whether or not she should take the SAT or ACT.  I want to be able to tell her the truth about which one to take, not just because….
I am not alone. A recent Kaplan Test Prep Survey reported that 33% of survey respondents believed that the SAT is more widely accepted by colleges than the ACT.   When in fact colleges do not prefer either test.  For the past couple of years more students have taken the ACT than SAT.  And what are the real differences in the two tests?
  •  SAT -  3 hours, 45 minutes.
  •  ACT - 3 hours and 25 minutes (including the optional Writing Test, which Kaplan encourages students to take.).
  • SAT -  Critical Reading, Math and Writing section.
  • ACT - English, Reading, Math and Science Test.
  •  SAT -  is scored on a 600-2400 scale and ¼ point is subtracted from your raw score for each wrong answer (except for Math Grid-Ins).
  • ACT - is scored on a 1-36 scale and there is no wrong answer penalty.
Overall I have learned that when it comes time for the oldest to decide which college entrance exam take it will be based on which test taking skills suit her best.  Not because mama was told twenty some odd years ago by someone, somewhere that one test was better than the other.


Do you think your child should take the SAT over the ACT?


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