If you’re starting to think about college, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the ACT and the SAT. These two standardized tests are recognized by most colleges, and will play an essential role in your college application process. If you know what college you’re planning on attending, visit the college’s website or call an adviser and find out if the college recognizes ACT scores, SAT scores, or both. If you don’t know what college you wish to attend and have a broad range of interests, it’s a good idea to take both.

If your college will take either score, you can try to determine which test you may score better on. Here’s a rundown of what each test concentrates on:

  • ACT questions tend to be more straightforward.
  • The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
  • The ACT has a science section, while the SAT does not.
  • The ACT tests more advanced math concepts.
  • The ACT writing portion is optional, but required by many schools.
  • The ACT is more of a “big picture” type of exam-¬†College admissions officers care about how you did on each section of the SAT. On the ACT, they’re most concerned with your composite score. So if you’re weak in one content area but strong in others, you could still end up with a very good ACT score and thus make a strong impression with the admissions committee.

If you’re stuck between which test to take, self-evaluation is critical. Look over the points above, and determine which tests will work better with your academic strengths.

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