One of the most common questions I get is, “Which exam is the better exam?” My response is a rephrasing of the question, “Which is the better exam for YOUR teen?”. In other words, the only way to know which is the better exam for your teen is for your student to take our diagnostics to find out which test fits your teen’s skill sets and learning style. An understanding of the nature of the two exams is also extremely helpful. That said, the SAT (relative to the ACT) is your teen’s better exam if:
- The score on the 60 Second ACT vs. SAT AssessmentTM is 7+. Our unique diagnostic consists of 11 either/or questions that characterize and compare not only the make-up of the exams, but how the student best approaches the tests.
- If a student scores 6 and 5 on the ACT vs. SAT Assessment, it is recommended that the student try both tests and stick with the one he ‘likes’ better.
2. The 90 Second SAT Skill Set AssessmentTM and the 90 Second ACT Skill Set AssessmentTM validate the above score and provide supporting SAT and ACT score correlations. Additionally, these two assessments can often help decide the better test when the ACT vs. SAT Assessment score is 6 and 5.
- Your teen tends to be a more careful, rather than rapid reader. Though our test prep is most known and appreciated for incorporating an efficient reading program for both SAT and ACT preparation, students need to be more rapid readers on the ACT than on the SAT:
- The passages on the ACT are 900-1000 words long; on the SAT 500-750 words long.
- On the ACT, students have 8.75 minutes to approach each of the passages representing four different genres: prose fiction; social science; humanities; natural science.
- On the SAT they have 13 minutes to approach each of the five passages; same genres – two science passages.
- Drawing conclusions and inferences is not a challenge for the student who favors the SAT.
- The questions on the ACT tend to be more straightforward. Though the passages are generally longer, a lot of students appreciate the fact that the questions tend not to demand as much critical thinking – good for ‘black and white’ thinkers.
- The questions on the SAT are a bit more nuanced so students who have stronger critical reading and thinking skills tend to do well with these types of questions.
- Your teen favors Algebra over Geometry. The SAT places a heavy emphasis on Algebra 1 and 2 comprehension and skills.
- A student who wants to do well on the SAT *must* have a mastery of Quadratics.
- Geometry, on the other hand, is not as strongly emphasized. Plus, the SAT gives plenty of Geometry formulas at the beginning of every section.
- Your student prefers data analysis over reading comprehension.
- While both the SAT Math and ACT Math/Science require students to analyze data, the SAT does so in a more direct fashion.
- Also, the ACT Science, in particular, can be a challenge for students who lack strong critical reading skills.
- Your teen requires more time per question on the Math.
- Students who tend to be slower readers especially when math word problems are involved get more time on the SAT Math over the ACT Math. For students with pacing issues the extra time can make a huge difference.
- Students have an average of 1 minute and 15 seconds on the non-calculator section of the SAT and 1 minute and 30 seconds on the calculator section.
- They have 1 minute per question on the the ACT math.
If after going through all of the above, and you are still not sure, please schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session.
We look forward to the opportunity of working with your teen!