SAT or ACT, which one is your flavor? The class of 2015 will soon experience the rigorous test preparation as they get ready to ‘wow’ the admissions committee of the university they strive to get into. It’s that time of year again when juniors will soon decide which college entrance exam will give them the “X Factor.” The pressure is mounting and a great deal is at stake as most juniors will take their first exam this coming spring.
When researching whether your personal qualifications are fitting for a particular university, there are only two objective factors that are constantly in your face: your GPA and your entrance exam score. So who can blame anyone for feeling the pressure of these tests? Here are some statistics that give the proof that they are equally weighted and that they are a critical factor in the decision process.
An informal survey of 50 juniors revealed that over 95% believe they will be taking the SAT. This preliminary decision seems like it will drastically change over time as students become more informed about both tests.
According to Dr. Marivel Oropeza, one of Milken’s college counselors, “Last year more than half the class decided to take the ACT.”
Is it instinct that draws people towards the SAT as they heard of this test for some time? Is it the parental influence that speaks of the SAT, not knowing much about the ACT exam that was not offered during their college application period? Or is it the misconception that universities prefer the SAT over the ACT on the college application? Whatever the reason for students’ gravitational pull, it will undoubtedly change over time as they become more familiar with the ACT format.
For some, the decision to take the SAT is informed and based on sound reasoning. Shani Erdman ‘15 believes her “strengths are in writing and vocabulary,” thereby deciding to take the SAT. The not so subtle differences in the two exams can make a world of a difference when deciding on one over the other. The SAT leans more towards the students that are able to think more quickly on their feet. The ACT on the other hand is more straightforward.
“After I complete one section I’m finished with it. I can answer all the questions and I wont be penalized,” said Madison Levine ’14.
The direct approach of the ACT is not the only difference in the two tests. Students are best advised to take a good, long, hard look at themselves and determine where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They must closely examine and analyze the different format styles of both the ACT and SAT. Only after a full understanding of both can they choose what test works best for them.
Alternatively, to make life simpler, just take a practice test of each and see which one you do better in. Either way, preparation is key to doing well on this test. Remember, a significant element of your university application is riding on this score.