ACT vs SAT

Should Students Take the ACT or the SAT?
This is a question that is frequently asked by high school students. Understanding the difference between the two tests can help you make an informed decision.

Which test is more popular?
For the first time, in 2010, more American high school students took the ACT over the SAT. Over the course of the next decade we predict the ACT will continue to gain in popularity among students, teachers, administrators, and universities.
Which test is the better measurement tool for college-readiness?
The ACT is considered the better measurement tool to gauge college-readiness. It is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school whereas the SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.

What are the different sections of each test?
The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 components: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.

Which test do educators feel is the best reflection of future success?
Educators at the highest levels have realized that the ACT is a better test for college success. While educators agree that reasoning and verbal abilities are important, they would also agree that the true measure of success lies in college readiness skills – skills the ACT directly measures. For this reason there are currently seven states that use the ACT as their official state exam: Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming. Not one state uses the SAT as their official state test.

Should students prepare for and take both exams, just to be safe?
Not necessarily. Every college and university accepts the ACT for admission and scholarship purposes and the SAT for admission.

 

Comparing the ACT and the SAT

ACT SAT
Test Type Achievement Test Reasoning Test
Make Up English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing (optional) Critical Reading, Math, Writing (including an essay)
Score Choice Yes, however schools can request all scores Yes, however schools can request all scores
Calculator Yes, math only Yes, math only
Scoring No loss for incorrect answers No loss for incorrect answers
Vocabulary Minimal vocabulary questions (English section has a few vocabulary questions and reading section includes “words” in context) Sentence completion portion of critical reading section is vocabulary based
Features Completing reading section can be difficult questions are more straight forward. No formulas provided SAT reading passages are not in order of difficulty. Wording of the answers to the reading questions can be confusing. Does not contain a science section

Math formulas provided

Accepted where? All universities and colleges routinely accept ACT for admission All universities and colleges routinely accept SAT for admission

 

What do these differences mean for me?
The test taking strategies needed for each test are different. On the ACT, students have more control over how they spend their time. For example, with 60 minutes to complete the entire math section on the ACT, students must know how to allocate their time wisely. On the SAT, the math is divided into three sections which may seem more manageable; however, if students finish early, they cannot work on any other sections. Another downside of the SAT is the added stress of deciding when to guess and when to leave a problem blank. With only four answer choices on the ACT, your chances of guessing correctly are raised dramatically.

Should I take the ACT?
Majority of Ohio state colleges accept the SAT or ACT with Essay. Most other universities will accept either test, but it is wise to check with individual private colleges. If you are planning to take the SAT, we recommend trying the ACT also because approximately 90% of the preparation is the same. Whether you choose to take the SAT or ACT, the most important thing is to be prepared. No single company has a monopoly on secrets to success; it just takes a lot of practice and an experienced teacher who can explain your mistakes to you.

What is a “good” test score?
The best answer to that question is to take a look at the student’s GPA and SAT, ACT scores and decide upon a realistic goal for that student. We usually begin by looking at some of the popular Ohio universities and the average scores of last year’s freshman class.

 

College

Mean GPA

Mean ACT

SAT CR

SAT Math

Applicattion Deadline

University of Akron

2.92

19-25

August 1

Bowling Green

3.20

19-25

480-610

490-590

March 1

Capital University

3.45

22 – 27

470 – 580

490 – 610

May 1

Case Western

28 – 32

590 – 700

650 – 750

Jan 15

University of Cincinnati

3.44

22-27

Mean math/reading

1030-1230

Feb 1

Denison University

3.16

27 – 30

590 – 680

January15

Kent State

3.19

22

512

517

Rolling

Kenyon College

3.82

28 – 32

630 – 720

600 – 680

Jan 15

Miami University

26

611

581

Feb1

Mt. Carmel School of Nursing

3.61

20 – 25

April 1

Muskingum College

3.2

19 – 24

430 – 580

430-560

ASAP

Ohio Dominican University

3.1

18 – 23

430-570

Rolling

The Ohio State University

26- 31

Mean math/reading

1180-1340

Feb 1

Ohio University

3.4

21 – 26

490 – 610

480 – 610

Feb 1

Otterbein College

3.50

20- 25

460 – 580

480 – 590

March 1

University of Toledo

3.11

21

Rolling

Wittenberg University

3.4

22 – 28

520 – 640

500 – 620

Rolling

Wright State

3.06

19-24

Mean math/reading

1000-1009

512

Rolling

The College of Wooster

3.64

24 – 29

550 – 650

550 – 670

Feb 15

Xavier University

3.54

22 – 28

490 – 610

500 – 620

Feb 1

 

How do I prepare for the Subject Exams?
First, you should try taking mock exams in several different subjects before selecting your final two. Next, take a few private lessons to help you to familiarize yourself with the format of the tests you are taking. For the content based tests, you should review through the key concepts. For the skills based tests you need to practice a wide variety of questions so that you know what to expect. Our teachers will identify your weak areas and create a program of study for you.

 

2014 SAT & ACT TEST DATES

SAT

ACT

Oct 1, 2016

 Sep 10, 2016

Nov 5, 2016

Oct 22, 2016

Dec 3, 2016

 Dec 10, 2016

Jan 21, 2017