Marked difference in scores?

I have seen mention on the forum from parents whose children scored significantly differently on the ACT than the SAT. Curious if anyone could share more about those experiences.

Cautiously optimistic after D’s first few tutoring sessions that “this is so much easier than the SAT” but wondering if they are truly different enough to hide her weaknesses and draw on her strengths more than the SAT, which she did not do well on.

Any reference to scores and what type of prep was done would be great as well.

My daughters got 33/34 on the act, 1470 on the sat. My son did a little better on the sat, 1390 vs. 30, my other son had 1250 vs. 30. Regardless, a private tutor helped increase scores.

Both tests have many practice tests - retired actual tests or tests constructed by those making the actual tests. It’s highly recommended to take them under actual test conditions - two each if possible - and use the official concordance to see which fits a student’s specific learning style, abilities, speed, etc.

The tests are different enough that some students score significantly differently between them.

My D ended up with a 31 superscore, which is about a 1400 from the concordance (iirc, around a 1350 on the first test), and a 1280 on her one SAT attempt.

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My kids were both sub 1200 on SATs. Only took once. D got a 31 on the ACT first try. Took a class and second score was a 29. S got a 26 first try. Did a handful of one on one tutoring sessions and scored a 32.

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D20 got a 1500 on the SAT (took once during school) and a 35 on the ACT (also took once during school), so slightly better on the ACT. I think she just liked the ACT questions better. She didn’t do any test prep classes; she just used the books you can buy on Amazon. The summer before junior year, she did 30 minutes of practice questions, 3x/week and took 2 full practice ACT exams. I think what really helped was their school used the ACT + essay as a state assessment, so the teachers did ACT drills for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of math and English classes, no matter the level. Good luck!

Agree with trying practice tests of both SAT and ACT.

Generally, the ACT test is easier than the SAT on some parameters, e.g., lower passage complexity, lower average grade level reading (Flesch-Kincaid), and has more geometry questions.

However, the ACT has far more questions per minute, so being able to quickly work thru the test is paramount. When doing practice tests, make sure time limits are followed. Many students who have extra time on tests choose the ACT for these reasons. See the Applerouth site for a more detailed comparison of the tests.

Just circling back on this. D22 got her score today, and not great but better than the SAT of 1150, with a 26. I think she should be able to bring it up to at least a 27 with a retake/superscore in June. The reading clobbered her so I think she has to play with the timing and that will help. Also needs a refresher in Geometry apparently lol.

Hi @tumagmom - I know we talked before about our daughters and nursing. My daughter did not attempt the ACT although I did wonder if she would have fared better. She got a 1240 on the SAT in October 2020. We had heard that a lot of the schools that she was applying to would look for at least 1250/1260. She decided to apply to all of her direct admit nursing schools with a score as opposed to TO. She figured that it was still an “ok” score to show. She was accepted to Temple, Delaware, West Chester, Duquesne, and Drexel. All with varying levels of merit with the most coming from Duquesne (she got the max that they give). She was waitlisted at Pitt which is, of course, the most competitive of all of the schools that she applied to. Additionally, she was accepted to Altoona PSU instead of UP. That’s the only school that I think she may have possibly gotten into as TO. We’ll never know.

We had done tutoring for SAT in Jan/Feb of 2020 leading up to the March 2020 exam that she never took. Who knows how she would have done then. But we did not do any additional professional tutoring leading up to the October 2020 test. She had done many of the practice SAT tests on the college board site. The outcome of those tests were all slightly higher than the actual score she ended up with.

My advice would be to pick one to focus on (SAT vs ACT) and then do some tutoring. Good luck…I know it’s stressful.

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Yes I remember saving a screenshot of your D’s stats and acceptances!! Thank you for the feedback. She is working 1:1 with an ACT tutor so hoping she can bump her score a few points🤞🏻

She will probably submit most with scores but might throw her name in the bag to a few reaches without. Time will tell!