Why do people still take the SAT and not the ACT?

<p>Hello CC Community,</p>

<p>I wonder: Why should people still take the SAT? I realize my question may paint me as a troll but I really don't understand why a student would take the SAT over the ACT when both are viewed equally by colleges. </p>

<p>Would anyone disagree that if the vast majority of students studied an equal amount of time for the ACT as they did for the SAT they would get a comparatively higher ACT score? From my personal experience, I have seen kids who get 33's and 32's on their ACT's who scored under 1800 on their SATS after taking them numerous times.</p>

<p>It seems as though one's SAT score is much harder to improve than one's ACT score. Also, there seems to be a small element of "luck" to the SAT, such as when the hard math questions are ones that you know a shortcut for, or you happen to know a vocab word without needing context clues.</p>

<p>I find it extremely hard to believe that a 35 ACT score is considered equal to a 2340 SAT, or a 34 ACT is considered equal to a 2260 SAT. Yet, every adult I ask about the ACT ensures me that they're viewed as equivalent. How can this be true? It takes a far more intelligent person, and far more preparation to score a 2340.</p>

<p>So I ask of you: Now that acceptance of the ACT is more widespread, why do students still take the SAT? Would it not be more effective to study only for the ACT, and forget about the SAT entirely?</p>

<p>Both the 34 and 2300 are 99th percentile scores, so the comparison doesn’t seem too crazy.</p>

<p>The truth of the matter is that the SAT is a harder test more focused on reasoning and SHOULD be more prestigious/impactful than the ACT.
The only way you find the ACT harder is if you read pretty slowly, which isn’t a measure of the actual paper test, just the time constraints.</p>

Yes, but the ACT is more coachable and is largely a function of how much a person studies for the test, not their ability to apply concepts they’ve learned in school.</p>

<p>@ HarasNN
I agree with you. The SAT is indeed a much harder test, and it better reflects a person’s intelligence and reasoning skills.</p>

<p>Considering this, ^^^ can anyone explain why colleges treat the tests equally? One would think that a 2400 is far more impressive than a 36, yet my guidance insists this is not so.</p>

<p>The SAT is more common, and talked about a lot more. When someone hears test scores, they’re more likely to think of SAT than ACT. I’d say it’s just a custom more than anything.</p>

<p>I personally took both, and found the ACT a bit easier, though my scores were about the same (I realize the scoring is different, I’m being relative when I say same).</p>

<p>I studied for the SAT and got a 2130. I didn’t study for the ACT and got a 29.</p>

<p>Except for the ACT having a science reasoning section, I don’t see how they’re all that different or how the SAT is harder. People are always saying the SAT measures intelligence better but the questions all look the same to me.
I got a 2340 on the SAT and a 35 on the ACT…I didn’t study for either of those tests specifically, but I had studied for a previous ACT and it sort of carried over - apparently to my SAT score as well.</p>

<p>The SAT is more ubiquitous. Also, the SAT favors logic and raw intellect rather than the ACT which focuses more on what you actually know (I’ve heard this a lot, not sure I fully agree myself)</p>

<p>Eh, I’m pretty confident that the tests ARE equal, despite what’s being said in the thread. There are differences between the two, but they both are RELATIVELY well-developed exams. </p>

<p>It’s just a different strokes for different folks thing.</p>

<p>Colleges do not view both tests equally… I attended a seminar that featured college admissions directors from Rice and SMU, and they stated that they definitely prefer SAT over ACT</p>

<p>I know the SAT has more prestige, if there is a sort of thing. Random people will understand you and get interested if you tell them what you got out of 1600.</p>


<p>Interesting. You speak to what I’m trying to better understand about the ACT and SAT. Call me cynical, but I’d wager many admissions officers are simply lying when they tell students that they regard the ACT and SAT as equivalent.</p>

<p>Does anyone genuinely feel that the ACT is a less “coachable” test than the SAT? Does anyone actually believe that putting in X amount of hours to study for the ACT and X amount of hours to study for the SAT would produce similar outcomes?</p>

<p>I think it’s a matter of preference. Not everyone finds the ACT easier than the SAT. For example, I LIKE the math on the SAT, probably better than I would like the math on the ACT for example. It tests more basic concepts, but requires you to apply them in really different ways (I guess in a sense kind of like some math contests, but easier), while the ACT tests more advanced concepts. But if you ask some of my other friends, they would say that they love ACT math a lot more.</p>

<p>Some people will do better in SAT than ACT, others would be just the opposite. The conversion table is based on % of student, so it is reliable in a population sense but not at individual level. Collegeboard also conduct a survey to come up with their conversion table by comparing the ACT and SAT scores of students taking both. Nevertheless, it is easier to get ACT 36 composite than 2400 SAT.</p>

<p>The simple fact that about double the number of people get a 36 as compared to a 2400 just proves which is the harder test.</p>

<p>I don’t understand why some colleges accept the ACT in place of SAT subject tests. There is no way an ACT covers a comparable amount of material.
Also, colleges may accept the ACT equally, but by not superscoring the ACT, they are not treating it equally–big difference.</p>

<p>Easier to get 36 in ACT than 2400 in SAT does not prove one is easier than the other. It is just the way the composite score is calculated. Indeed, it may be equally or even more difficult to get a pure 36 (in all sections). For SAT 2400, you need to score 800 in all 3 subscore, for ACT 36 composite, it can be 36/36/36/36, 36/36/36/35, 36/36/35/35, or 36/36/36/34. The number of ACT36 (all above combination) is around 3 times of SAT2400, but a pure 36 ACT would be much more difficult to achieve and is much less than 1/3 of all composite ACT 36.
If the schools only care to accept students at certain percentage or above among all candidates, it really does not matter which test they use as long as they choose the scores with the corresponding percentile. Remember, most schools do not rely on a simple SAT1 or ACT score. Also, most schools require ACT with writing or SAT1+SAT2.</p>

<p>Yeah I agree that I don’t really understand why colleges take ACT in place of subject tests…but whatever, it’s their policy. </p>

<p>And exactly what billcsho said; it’s not that the ACT is more difficult, it’s just scored differently. Also, while the SAT has a total of 181 increments (from 600-2400), the ACT only has 36 increments (from 1-36)</p>

That’s an interesting point. The fact that the ACT has only 36 increments is a pretty big problem in my opinion. It simply doesn’t differentiate the best students from the very best students. </p>

<p>Is it likely that colleges are increasingly accepting the ACT in place of the SAT as a way of making their numbers/rankings better or something to do with yield? Perhaps I’m being a little too cynical.</p>

<p>I feel that colleges still view a 2300+ with more regard than a 35+, and if a student can make a 2300+, they would be better off taking the SAT. Just my opinion.</p>