SAT or ACT or both?

My son wants is beginning preparing for SAT/ACT exam. He has plans to apply to BS/MD program as well as ivy league schools. Would he have a better chance getting accepted to these programs if he takes both exams? We are on the fence right now debating which exam he should focus on. Any advice, or past experience would be much appreciated, thank you.

No, one or the other is fine. IMO, the ACT’s for students who are better are reading b/c 3/4 of the test is reading-based (science section’s basically a reading section but w/ science comprehension: graph reading, scientific argument understanding etc.) and the SAT’s if you’re better at math (doesn’t test pre-calc IIRC, but has a section w/o calculator and has more time allocated per question, so they can be require you think more deeply at times than the ACT.)

For SAT Subject Tests, the general advice is Math Level 2 (covers math up to pre-calc) and Bio, Chem, or Physics (some schools like BU SMED and Northwestern HPME specifically require Chem, so check the admissions websites of the schools you’re interested in.

There is a BS/MD applicant thread on CC (current one’s 2020-21) that offers a ton of helpful advice from people experienced with the BS/MD application process. You should check it out!

Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!

No, taking both tests is of no value in the admissions process. In fact, splitting effort may yield a worse result. Colleges will use the concordance and use the best one, if you take both. They are not additive.

Rather than trying to guess which “type” of test is better, actually take a couple practice tests of each, see which one yields a better score, based on the concordance, and focus on that. The tests are similar enough that the practice will be valuable for either one.

If the scores are comparable, which is typical, see if he prefers the format, timing, and question types for one.

One or the other is fine.

However, taking both, or practice tests under test conditions, early allows determining which one is better suited for the student. Any desired test preparation can be focused on the one that is initially better.