Should you take the ACT or SAT?

Pencil bubbling in answersLots of confusion seems to surround which test to take. And when you’re dropping 50 bucks to take it, you better chose the right one!

With colleges accepting both tests, it’s really up to the parents and the student. This easy breakdown makes that process a whole lot easier and allows you to choose the one that will get you the highest score.

THE ACT – American College Testing

The ACT generally tests things that you’ve already learned in school (though may have not seen in about 4 years). it has 4 sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. It also has an optional essay part, which some colleges want to have. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers (no penalty for wrong answers). This means you should have an answer on EVERY question! Most people say that the ACT favors analytical thinkers, so if that’s you, I’d take the ACT!

The SAT – Scholastic Assessment Test

The SAT measures your reasoning and verbal skills more than your previously learned knowledge – although there will definitely be stuff
on there you’ve seen before! It only has two section: Critical Reasoning (or verbal) and mathematics. It also has a required writing test. The SAT score, contrary to the ACT, does have a penalty attached to incorrect answers – in this case you should only guess if you can eliminate at least one answer choice. The SAT has a pretty heavy emphasis on vocabulary in the verbal part, so if you’re a great word person, this may be your test! Because of this, they say students with a high verbal-intelligence do better on the SAT.

The “EAT

Remember: EAT breakfast and bring a snack when you go! Whether you choose the SAT or ACT, both tests are quite long and, if you don’t bring food, you’re going to have a bad time. A great snack to bring is trail mix – sweet, salty, and a good mix of carbs. Check out these other brain-boosting foods for more good, healthy food ideas!


Dominick Cooper, Director of Launch Academy, Davinci Scholar, and creative educator

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