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## Which One Should I Take – SAT Or ACT? Millions of Students Ask This Question Each Year

Millions of high school students ask this question every year and few get a definitive answer. There are differences between the two tests and if you know what makes them different, you can plan a better college test strategy to better position yourself for admissions and scholarships.

The ACT – for American College Testing – is located in Iowa City, Iowa. The ACT consists of four sections – English (45 minutes), Maths (60 minutes), Reading (35 minutes) and Science (35 minutes), with an optional Writing section (30 minutes). ACT scores are calculated for each section (English, Math, Reading, and Science), and then a composite score is derived from these section scores.

The SAT comes from the College Board – technically, the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB), in New York. SAT used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test, but no longer stands for anything. The actual test questions are developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey – which is where the Princeton Review gets its name – because it was started in Princeton, NJ, not because she has a relationship with Princeton University.

The SAT has three components: reading, math, and writing. These are divided into ten test sections.

Now – for the differences:

Difference number 1:

Do you know what SOHCAHTOA is? No, it’s not a Native American tribe from upstate New York. If you know what that means, then you’re probably better prepared to take the ACT than someone who doesn’t. The answer is at the bottom of this article.

Difference number 2:

The ACT is a curriculum-based test, which means the questions are based on what students are expected to have learned in English, math, and science in high school. It can be good or bad, depending on your point of view. If you didn’t learn a lot in high school, it will likely show on your ACT score. If you learned what you were supposed to know, that too will likely affect your score.

The SAT is supposed to be an aptitude test, which means it’s supposed to test your ability to think or analyze, or something like that. This means (theoretically) that if you didn’t learn much in high school because you were bored with your water bottle because you’re actually some sort of underachieving latent genius, that will show up on this test. This perspective has some validity, because there are many underachieving, otherwise intelligent kids who get terrible grades while scoring high on the SAT. The opposite is also true. There are a lot of high school students who work hard and get good grades but do poorly on the SAT.

Difference number 3:

The test. In 2005, the SAT made massive changes and one of them was to include an essay. ACT followed by an optional trial. The reality is that after four years, many colleges skip the SAT writing component altogether, including the essay due to scoring consistency issues. These colleges typically use math and reading scores.

This is where you need to do your homework. Find out if the colleges you are considering actually use the SAT test or require the ACT test. You must be careful. Although many colleges “officially” don’t consider the SAT writing and essay, they still get the scores with those components, and… with those scores right in front of them, they can sway their view even if they don’t. they are not “officially” considered.

My recommendation is that you take both – preferably in your freshman year – and see how you do. Do not send your scores to colleges until you have scores you want to send.

Oh – SOHCAHTOA is the acronym for trigonometric functions: Sin = Opposite/Hypotenuse; Cosin = Adjacent/Hypotenuse; Tangent = Opposite/Adjacent. The SAT only goes through Algebra II. Trig is on the ACT.

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