Should I be taking the SATs or ACTs?

April 30, 2012

There are many different things you need to do in preparation for college, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or confused about application requirements. Along with myriad options facing you for scholarships and financial aid, you might be wondering about the differences between the SATs and ACTs. While both are used as criteria for being accepted as an undergraduate, the SAT and ACT both offer unique testing methods. Here are some tips to help figure out which exam is right for you.

School requirements
Before you decide to take one test over another, you should determine which exam your desired colleges require of applicants. Some schools may prefer the SAT over the ACT or vice-versa, while others might accept both, according to

Test structure
While both the SAT and ACT measure what you have learned in your student career, each test goes about this differently. The SAT has three sections - Reading, Math and Writing - that emphasize general problem solving and logic skills. Alternately, the ACT is more subject-oriented, with sections like English, Math, Reading and Science that focus on your mastery of high school courses, according to The Princeton Review.

Your style of learning
Once you understand the way each test challenges students, you can determine whether the SAT or ACT plays to your academic strengths. Investigate practice tests from both to see which seems better suited to your style of learning. However, you may want to take both to give yourself greater flexibility when applying to colleges.

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