May 12th, 2017

Conflicted About College Standardized Testing? We’re Dispelling Five Common SAT & ACT Myths!

In the past few years, college admission standardized testing has changed quite a bit, and you may have come across many conflicting opinions about the SAT and ACT. With so much new information about both tests, it can be stressful and overwhelming to get the facts. As you start this process, it’s critical that you have all your questions answered so you can make well-informed decisions about your testing options.

Below we are dispelling five of the most common SAT and ACT myths:                                                            

  1. Colleges prefer the SAT over the ACT (or vice versa). False! Because the SAT used to be more common in the Northeast, many people assume it’s more widely accepted than the ACT. You’ll be happy to know that both tests are equally accepted at colleges across the country, no matter what region or geographic area.


  1. You must be good at science to do well on the ACT. If you’re not strong in the sciences, don’t fear! The ACT’s science section does not evaluate your academic science knowledge, but rather includes science-based questions and passages to assess your critical thinking abilities. By honing your test strategy skills, you can master the science section in no time!


  1. The ACT is “easier” than the SAT. Some students perform better on the ACT while others achieve higher scores with the SAT. Your performance will be heavily dictated by your test-taking abilities rather than the test itself. That’s why it’s important to take ACT and SAT practice tests to determine which one is a better fit. All high schools offer the PSAT in October. Check with your district to see if they will be offering the Pre-ACT this year!


  1. The math on the SAT is harder. The mathematical material is comparable on both tests, requiring a solid foundational understanding of arithmetic, algebra and geometry. However, the SAT math section is heavily common-core based, having a narrower focus on algebraic problems to test knowledge of mathematical concepts. Another notable difference between the two tests is that the ACT allows use of a calculator on all math questions, while the SAT only allows calculator usage for certain parts of the test. Therefore, students who are highly dependent on their calculators to solve even basic equations are likely to find the SAT’s math section to be more difficult.


  1. The writing portion doesn’t matter on either test. Though the essay portions on both the SAT and ACT are optional, it’s a good idea to complete the writing section regardless of which test you take. Certain colleges will evaluate your writing score, so you won’t want to hurt your admissions chances by skipping out on the essay.

Remember, your testing success will be determined by your effort and preparation – not the type of test you choose to take. It’s important to evaluate your performance on each test and choose the one that’s best for your individual testing abilities. It may not be necessary to prepare for both tests.

Are you ready to start preparing for the ACT or SAT? Get in touch today with Test Preps, a Buffalo-based test prep services company offering SAT/ACT small group courses and private tutoring services. We’re happy to answer all of your questions. Let our team get you on the track to success!

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