Friday, September 4, 2015

SAT versus ACT, a closer look.

I have blogged about this topic before but now that the time is coming for C16 to really start prepping, which test will she take, if any?  

I am not a fan of standardized testing.  Not because my kids do not test well because they score in the high 90s in every subject in past testing but because some people do not test well for all kinds of reasons.  I just do not feel standardized testing is a good predictor of academic knowledge and the concept of multiple choice is outdated in my opinion.  

Lets figure this out.  

So you have your SAT and your ACT.  The SAT is to assess (aptitude) reasoning ability, and the ACT is focused more on knowledge, yada yada yada.

Do college admission boards prefer one test over the other?  The short answer is NO!  According to the research, both tests are viewed equally.  The SAT was the top dog of testing but not any more.  In 2014, around 1.7 million students to the SAT and around 1.8 million took the ACT.  You can read more about that here in this article by The Washington Post.  The class of 2015 included 1.5 million SAT test-takers and 1.9 million who took the ACT.  You can read all about that here from again, The Washington Post.

Another surprise is that some colleges do not require you take either.  What the what?  Here is a comprehensive list of colleges that do not require the SAT or the ACT to get in including Wake Forest University, Bowdoin College, and Wesleyan University.

So now what?  Still can't decide?  A little more info:

Image link.

~The SAT strongly emphasizes vocabulary.
~No science section.
~Mandatory writing section.
~This test is broken up into 10 sections going back and fort between topics.
~College recruiters are looking at how you did on each section of the SAT.

ACT: Achievement test.
~Science section.
~Very straight forward.
~The ACT writing section is optional unless requested by the college.
~More advanced math topics including trig.
~Broken into 4 sections with no going back and forth between topics.
~College recruiters look at the big picture on the ACT scores (composite score).  The good thing about that is if you are a little weaker in one area than another, it will not effect your overall score negatively.
~Does not cost as much as the SAT.

Still cannot decide?  Try this.  Grokit has a free five minute quiz that can help you decide which test is for you.

Help for the SAT here.
My PSAT/SAT Pinterest board.
Sample SAT.

Help for the ACT here.
My ACT Pinterest board.
Sample ACT. PDF

Happy testing!

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