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Which is better: the ACT or the SAT?

Which is better: the ACT or the SAT?

The answer to that question (of course) is that it depends. The folks over at CBS have some advice on which category you may fall into, however.

From the blog:

Teenagers who earn high ACT scores are more likely to:

  • Possess a strong memory.
  • Be fast readers.
  • Process information swiftly.

Teenagers who earn high SAT scores are more likely to:

  • Possess a strong vocabulary.
  • Be a strong reader.
  • Enjoy test-taking strategies.

As a test prep tutor, I tend to favor the ACT. Why? Because I believe it is more coachable.  The ACT mirrors actual classwork a bit more closely, but it requires a quicker pace. The ACT mirrors more of an AP exam, and has more difficult-to-see traps and tricks. If a student likes that sort of challenge, the SAT is great! But if a student just wants to get a decent score with the least amount of work, the ACT is the right test to take.

The only real way to know which one to take is to take a full length practice exam of each. Both the SAT and ACT have a single test available for free, available here (SAT) and here (ACT). See which one you like more. Unless there’s a huge score difference (and there likely isn’t going to be one), take the one you like the best. You’ll do better just because you’re more comfortable.

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