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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

Has anyone gotten a terrible score for their SAT but fabulous for the ACT?

misteranthonymisteranthony User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 421 Junior Member
edited July 2010 in ACT Preparation
I'm planning to study both, leaning a bit more on the SAT.

Anyone have a knack for one over the other? For ex. 1800 on SAT and 34 on ACT
Post edited by misteranthony on

Replies to: Has anyone gotten a terrible score for their SAT but fabulous for the ACT?

  • UVAorBustUVAorBust Registered User Posts: 2,504 Senior Member
    1820 sat with studying, 30 on act no studying... hoping to break 33 this coming act...
  • FutureENTSurgeonFutureENTSurgeon Registered User Posts: 1,073 Senior Member
    i scored a 1700 SAT and 33 ACT, different tests, test different kinds of intelligences.

    personally i think ACT is the most valid test because it actully tests material that a person should know before college.

    for example:
    English- learn how to identify and in the future write proper and concise english
    math- up to precalc, so IMO if you get a 30+ you should be ready for calculus
    reading- how to read for "business" not for pleasure which is essential because in college you must learn how to effectively read
    science- problem solving

    as for the SAT how is having just a strong vocabulary the key to succeeding in college and for the math section it is not relavent to have confusing questions like that. in physics, chem, and engineering the math you need to know is formuated

    PM me if you want any more thoughts about the ACT and strategies to score high
  • cherrybawlscherrybawls Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I got a 1930 on SATs and a 33 on ACTs, its a pretty big difference
    I prefer the ACT because it actually seems to be about what you know rather than asking you trick questions and focusing on minor details
    In addition i did absolutely no studying for the ACTs, I had no idea what to expect, but it was fine because they ask much more straightforward questions
  • RAlec114RAlec114 - Posts: 2,644 Senior Member
    My ACT w/o study > My SAT w/o study
  • rebeccarrebeccar Registered User Posts: 2,059 Senior Member
    Started with 1950 on practice SATs, raised to about 2050 now after a few months. 32 on first ACT practice try. I definitely find the ACT much easier and more straightforward.
  • alihaq717alihaq717 Registered User Posts: 942 Member
    I think there are a few factors that separate ACT and SAT scores. While I have scored similarly on both tests (2230 on SAT and 33 on ACT, so I feel I would offer an unbiased view on this) different people prefer a different type of test. Factors that one should consider:

    -the fact that the essay makes up a portion of your actual SAT score while it has no affect on your ACT composite (instead creating a different subscore: for example, since I had a 36 on the English and an 11 on the essay, it gave me a 35 writing composite but did not affect my actual ACT score). People should take this into consideration, and this also may be the reason why some people's SAT/ACT scores are jarringly different.

    -the SAT allocates you more time per question than the ACT; this leads one to believe that the ACT is more of a "speed" test. This is more based on the last two sections (Reading/Science) because they only give you 35 minutes to complete 40 questions (and at the same time you have to interpret graphs/read paragraphs). The math and english sections are more "SAT-ish" this is seen through my scores (I scored a 36 and 34 in English & Math, respectively, while scoring a 32 and 30 on Reading & Science respectively).

    -the Science section. This one section can either help or hinder you- some people find that it's the worst section, while others find it as a major boost to their score. I have my worst score in this section and thus dislike it, but I'm sure others have found that it is easy to do and have mastered the art of interpreting graphs and answering questions in a timely manner.

    -the fact that the SAT is broken down into more sections (10, including experimental) than the ACT (5, including writing). This leads one to believe that the ACT is also a little more endurance focused as one does not have a little time to relax between each section like the SAT allows (albeit not much when there isn't a break, but it still provides a small aside). Also, since the SAT is always varying what type of section it is making you take (although sometimes you get multiple sections in a row) this offers more variety and keeps the student more interested.

    I believe that it is those 4 factors that really make the difference between one's SAT and ACT scores. Apparently I wasn't subject to change from them, but I'm sure others would agree that those reasons listed above probably had the most adverse effects on their scores.
  • Jamezz93Jamezz93 Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    SAT 2170 without studying
    ACT 36 without studying

    Personally I loved the ACT because it seemed to test general knowledge/intelligence more than the SAT. For example, the ACT Reading section consists mostly of questions based directly from the passage, whereas SAT CR includes many obscure vocabulary words. These words help the scores of those who are able to cram obscene numbers of words into their head, but these words do not really test one's ability to read.
  • Swimfan1994Swimfan1994 Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    2390 with lots of studying on the SAT
    36 on the ACT without prep...so...I think I like the ACT better haha
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 24,110 Super Moderator
    The SAT is said to measure more thinking ability, the ACT more what has been learned, so such differences are to be expected.
  • arreyn emmearreyn emme Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    interestingly, i prefer the SAT.. its kind of like a game that i can beat.

    ACT with limited prep 36
    SAT with massive prep (rip off prep course, 10+ timed tests) 2310

    but I took the SAT before so SAT prep did crossapply to ACT somewhat
    and i took the ACT about half year after the SAT
  • Jersey13Jersey13 Registered User Posts: 4,622 Senior Member
    SAT measures analytical/reasoning ability. ACT measures how well you've learned HS material.
  • kenzie1992kenzie1992 Registered User Posts: 1,003 Senior Member
    188 on the PSAT (I'll get my SAT scores tomorrow), 34 on the ACT :)
  • getacargetacar Registered User Posts: 328 Member
    Both of my scores were about equal when I looked at the conversion chart. However, my SAT was on the lower range of the ACT score, so I did just slightly better on the ACT.

    I really enjoyed how the SAT had no science portion.
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    Here is what I posted with respect to my thoughts on the ACT right after taking it for the first time last month with no preparation (it is required in Illinois):
    English/Writing: The ACT was far more punctuation-focused than I expected, and they had more subjective questions about the passage as a whole than I had anticipated.

    Math: I felt much more crunched for time on the ACT, which was mostly a product of my lack of preparation. The questions were certainly different in style than those of the SAT: they were indeed more straightforward application of concepts than the SAT's more reasoning-dependent questions.

    Reading/Critical Reading: The names of these sections are more appropriate than I expected. The SAT truly does require test-takers to synthesize and interpret much more than does the ACT. There were quite a few questions that were mere paraphrases of the original text. I think that the SAT does a better job of walking the fine line between straight-from-the-text answers and overly subjective and unsupportable answers. The vocabulary section from the SAT wasn't missed much, though.

    Science: I'm not quite sure yet how I feel about whether this section should be on the test. Although I am sure I could improve my efficiency with preparation, seven passages felt like too much today for the time allotted.
    2390 with lots of studying on the SAT
    36 on the ACT without prep...so...I think I like the ACT better haha

    Similar to my situation: 2400 on the SAT while being very familiar with the test, and 36 on the ACT with no preparation (I just found out the latter today and was quite shocked).
  • netthreatnetthreat Registered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Similar to my situation: 2400 on the SAT while being very familiar with the test, and 36 on the ACT with no preparation (I just found out the latter today and was quite shocked).

    Hmm, how much prep synergy is there between SAT and ACT? I think if you prep for one, there is quite a bit of carryover for the other test.
This discussion has been closed.