The Better Option for Coyote Students: SAT or ACT?

HS students must take the SAT and/or the ACT before graduating from MCPS.

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HS students must take the SAT and/or the ACT before graduating from MCPS.

Jasmine Hildred, Reporter

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For students planning to attend college, taking the SAT is a graduation requirement. Some students will also take the ACT.

But which one is better? Some students who take the ACT find themselves struggling with the SAT and vice versa. The main purpose of taking these tests is to demonstrate college readiness.  The tests vary in content, scoring, and timing. The SAT takes three hours with 154 questions with three sections reading, writing and language, and math. While the ACT only takes two hours with 215 questions with four sections English, reading, math, and science. The scoring is different too on the SAT, total scores range from 400-1600. For the ACT, the score runs from 1-36.

“I’ve taken both the SAT and ACT and I definitely did better on the ACT,” junior Lyla Jamal said.

Choosing which test to take can depend on individual academic strengths. If students finish tests quickly and excel more at reading than at math, the ACT may be the better option. If students excel at equations, then the SAT might be better. The ACT also includes a whole section devoted to science which could be beneficial to some students. Another thing for students to consider is the time needed for each question. The SAT suggests spending 75 seconds per question whereas the ACT suggests spending about 55 seconds per question.

“It’s really important to pace yourself when you’re taking the SAT because before you know it the time is up,” junior Ami Dewonou said.

Most colleges accept either SAT and ACT scores. It’s probably best to take both the SAT and ACT because you won’t know which one you better at. Taking practice tests of each test can help to figure out which one is better for you.

“Whether you decide to take the SAT or ACT it’s important to study so that you’re prepared and get a perfect score on whatever test you take,” junior Lillian Carr said.