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ACT and SAT - Which is best, and why take both?

posted Mar 22, 2017, 4:49 AM by Jeffrey Wolf   [ updated Mar 30, 2017, 4:52 AM ]

By: Korey Alder, Media Editor

Posted March 22nd, 2017


A few weeks ago, everyone at Slinger High School took the ACT test, as is now mandated by Wisconsin state law. Because of this, it may seem rather pointless to take the SAT test as well, and the majority of Wisconsin students likely will not take the test. A little over a week ago, however, I took the SAT test at the Mequon test center, and thought I would compare the ACT and SAT tests for those interested.


So, why would you want to take both tests? The answer is that, for some, it may be beneficial. If you’re planning to go to college out-of-state, you may need to take the SAT, but most Wisconsin colleges don’t require it. That doesn’t make the test entirely useless to those looking at in-state options, however. Many colleges, including some in Wisconsin, will take either the ACT or the SAT test, meaning that if the SAT seems easier to you, it might be better to take in addition.


While it’s against both the SAT and ACT policies to discuss test questions, I can say that both tests are very similar in the style of questions asked. The base SAT is shorter as well, but includes “subject tests” that some colleges require in addition to the main sections of math, reading, and english. Overall, the SAT was a much less stressful experience; more time was given per section, and questions seemed clearer than those on the ACT. The SAT is produced by the College Board, the same organization that creates the exams for AP classes, but the questions are thankfully much less specific and also much less difficult than those found on AP tests. Probably the best part of the SAT was how quickly the setup portion of the test was. Most of the registration is completed online, so there was only basic information like name and address to fill out in the test booklet, rather than the hour or more process completed for the ACT.


With this in mind, I would recommend the SAT for anyone who might have done poorly on the ACT and wants to try a different test that may be easier to understand and practice for, or those who would like to take the better of their two scores.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Slinger High School or the Slinger School District.
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