Trying to decide which test is best? Before we get into the nitty-gritties of comparing the New SAT and ACT, let me make one thing very clear. SAT and ACT are equally accepted in universities abroad.
Understand one thing…..If you want a competitive college application, you need high test scores. And if you want high test scores, you need to take the right test.
Most importantly, you should focus all your efforts on taking one test. So, you really need to chose between SAT and ACT, and that too well in time. After all, there is no point in wasting time and effort on a test that doesn’t suit you. It obviously won’t give you a better score either. And you certainly can’t afford to give both, because that way, you will actually be harming yourself. Remember, time is precious. And that is why, you need to plan everything very smartly.
So, here is the inside story. Colleges use something called the Concordance Table to compare SAT and ACT scores. They don’t prefer one test to the other – they just want the highest comparative score. So, if you get a 1600 on the New SAT and a 36 on the ACT, it’ll be exactly the same thing as submitting one or the other. All you’ll be doing is wasting time and energy that could otherwise be applied to your Academics, extra-curricular activities, and applications.
You may have too many things on your plate right now. So how are you going to manage all of it?? By ensuring that you are making the right choice before hand.
“But which one will give me the best comparative score?”
So, lets start with a simple comparison. Now, the new SAT that that is being launched in March 2016, is basically just a carbon copy of the ACT, except for….
1. The new SAT doesn’t have a science section, while ACT does. The science section in ACT is easy to master, unless you completely hate science. In that case, the New SAT is your savior!
2. The essays are different. Both SAT and ACT come with optional essays. Just that in ACT they ask you to come up with your own argument and support it, while the New SAT asks you to evaluate an argument that some has already written for you. Neither is easier or harder – it’s just an issue of personal preference
3. The New SAT has a few fill-in-the-blank math problems. While, the ACT lets you use a calculator on all its math problems, and all the answers are multiple choice. The New SAT has both, “with calculator” and “without calculator” section, and 13 of its problems force you to fill in your own answer. The “without calculator” problems aren’t difficult because they don’t require any difficult arithmetic, so it’s not that much of an issue.
4. The New SAT is far less “time intensive. While the ACT makes you go at a blisteringly fast pace. This is the big issue that really separates the two exams. The New SAT gives you far more time per problem, so it’s a much less intense testing experience. Alternatively, the ACT makes you go at a blisteringly fast pace. So if you need some more time to consider your answers, the New SAT is going to be your friend. If you can plow through questions and are super focused, then the ACT should be your exam of choice.
Aside from these differences, the tests are practically the same. They both test your knowledge of Math, English grammar, and reading comprehension and they both take about four hours to take.
Let me put it this way….overall, the New SAT is definitely easier than the ACT. You will have more time to deal with each question and fewer sections to master. But before you dive right into the New SAT, there in one very important point to consider…
Pick the Test That Gives You the Biggest Edge!!
In short, if you’re awesome at fast-paced assignments and can stay focused for long periods of time, you have a huge competitive edge on the ACT.
But if you’re not so good at fast-paced assignments (if you prefer to take your time and think things through, or if you usually don’t finish your tests in school in time), the ACT will be a total nightmare. You should probably take the New SAT instead.
And Finally the Simplest way to Decide…
2. Spend an hour looking at each test (including its rules for each section, its format, and its problems) and see which one you like best. And oh, believe me! You will never find yourself neutral on this issue. Most students love the SAT and hate the ACT or vice versa.
3. Start prepping and focus on the test you like the most.
4. Take a full-length, timed, graded, realistic practice exam of both tests and then compare your scores using the concordance table.
One last thing:-
Start early. If you start months in advance, you can put in 20-40 minutes a day (split into small sessions of 10-20 minutes each) and get way higher scores. If you start studying a month before your test, it’s going to be hellish and stressful.
Congratulation! Decision made! You’ve already made a huge step toward test prep success!