SAT vs ACT

By Emily Dewey

The most important tests of our high school careers are the SAT and ACT. They not only aids in college acceptance, but also in scholarship opportunities. The test offered here at Assumption is the ACT. This standardized test assesses what knowledge you have gained throughout the 4 years you spend in high school. Through the sea of practice tests, prep classes, study opportunities, and hype around the test- as a student you must decide which test fits your need most.

The American College Testing (ACT) Test is used for admissions and merit-based scholarships. The subjects on this test include English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional essay for an extra fee. The length of the test without an essay is 2 hours, 55 minutes and 3 hours, 40 minutes with an essay. This test allows a calculator on all math questions, and each of the other sections features different components. It is scored on a scale of 0-36, and test results take an average of 3-8 weeks to get back. The average cost of the ACT is 50 dollars in the United States. Every state has a different average score, with Kentucky’s being 19.6. If you want to take the ACT outside of your school, you must register at www.act.org at least 5 weeks before the test to avoid late fees.

On the other hand, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is also used for admissions and merit-based scholarships. The subjects on this test include Reading, Writing & Language, Math, and an optional essay. In total, the SAT takes 3 hours without the essay, and 3 hours, 50 minutes with the essay. In comparison, the SAT has a calculator and no calculator section for the math section of the test. This test is scored on a scale of 400-1600 and takes an average of 2-6 weeks to get back. The average cost of the SAT is 46 dollars in the United States. Kentucky average SAT score is an 1190, which is above the national average of 1060. In addition, the SAT has a subcategory called the SAT subject tests. College Board offers over 20 subject test including the 5 main categories: English, History, languages, mathematics, and science. When deciding if it is best for you to take these a subject tests, it is good to look if you excel in a specific subject, and compare this to what you want to study in college. Since the SAT is not offered here at Assumption, you must register at an outside location at www.collegeboard.org at least 5 weeks before the test to secure your spot.

To decide which test you should take, I recommend looking at a detailed guide and assess your strengths and weaknesses against the selected guide. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to plan and secure your spot at a selected location as soon as possible. On average, it is recommended to take each test no more than 3 times to improve and optimize your score. After 3 times, you start to get repeat numbers and there is less room for growth that you haven’t already made. Whether you decide to take the SAT, ACT, or both, it is important to study, get a good night’s sleep beforehand, pick an optimal location for testing, and eat a protein filled breakfast the morning of.

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