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ACT vs. SAT

314jason314jason 80 replies20 postsRegistered User Junior Member
Hi! I took the SAT once in the Jan 2011 test, and retaking it again this October. The ACT has just been available at my high school, so I was wondering if I should give it a shot?

I have a few questions :)

Are colleges able to view my ACT scores, even if I didn't send them in?
Are SAT skills transferable? As in, do I need to intensely study for the ACT or can I simply review the general structure of the test and utilize my SAT-test-taking skills?

What are people's thoughts on taking the ACT versus the SAT!? Pros, cons?
My CR scores on the SAT are simply static, so I'm hoping the ACT will help show colleges I can read!
edited July 2011
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Replies to: ACT vs. SAT

  • HerasilHerasil 129 replies27 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Many people compare the ACT and SAT by saying that the SAT measures aptitude, while the ACT measures achievement. In other words, the SAT tests your thinking ability, while the ACT tests what you have learned. In more other words, you need to know stuff for the ACT. I found the math section on the ACT to be significantly more difficult than the math section on the SAT, mostly because there a couple of geometry things on the ACT that required memorization, and I took geometry 3 years ago. Specifically, I forgot the angle-side rules for comparing triangles, but that was just one question so it's no big deal. You also need to "know things" on the science section. You can do it without having previous experience with the topics they test on the science section, but you will have difficulty, and will probably run out of time. On the June ACT test, I noticed there were a lot of physics topics, and people that have not taken a physics class or did poorly in their physics class would probably be completely lost. I would say that the English and reading sections on the ACT are comparable to the reading and writing sections on the SAT, and the prep you did for the SAT for those sections are sufficient for the ACT. However, the ACT does not have questions that specifically test your vocabulary, so don't focus on vocab for the ACT.

    One of the major issues people have on the ACT is time. You are given a lot less time per question on the ACT than on the SAT, and it's not uncommon to run out of time. However, the ACT does not penalize you for guessing, so you can just bubble in randomly if you do run out of time. It is essential that you do a timed practice test to get a feel for the timing.
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  • csdadcsdad 2272 replies17 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another difference between the tests is that colleges only report the total composite score on their common data sets. On the SAT they report CR & M individually. As a result, a student who is low on one of sections (but has a total score in the colleges range) isn't hurt as much on the ACT.
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  • gec414gec414 43 replies14 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    The CR section is the worst for everyone. English is my best subject, yet, the SAT proves that I am illiterate. Hm.. However, I have taken the ACT twice, and the SAT once. I personally prefer the SAT because it has many shorter sections which are a lot less stressful than 4 big sections which I have trouble finishing (without prior studying). Most people do better and like the ACT more, however there are those of us who are the opposite.

    Another good thing about the SAT is that you can superscore, meaning take the best section from each test you take. The ACT doesn't do that, to my knowledge. And no college can see your scores without you sending them, again, to my knowledge.
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  • CantConcentrateCantConcentrate 2491 replies61 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    However, some colleges request/demand that you submit all testing scores. In that case, your would have to submit ALL of your ACT scores, regardless of the choice that ACT Inc. gives you.
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  • sa0209sa0209 579 replies31 postsRegistered User Member
    Yeah, ACT is usually not superscored. Apparently, the sections from test to test are not very comparable. I would understnad that for science, but why ACT isn't superscored? who knows~~~one of life's mysteries...
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