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SAT vs ACT: How to Decide

Since most colleges accept the ACT and SAT, picking the test where you’ll perform the best is critical to your admissions chances. When it comes time to choose however, many students run into these common obstacles:

  • Schedules: They have incredibly busy schedules, so their time and energy is short
  • Motivation: Some students may need extra motivation
  • Timing: Some students may be studying at the last-minute — especially upcoming seniors

If this describes you, you may not have the time or the energy to study for both tests, practice for both tests, and then finally decide which test to take.

So, which test should you choose? Well, the easier test – right? However, the difficulty of each test is not the same for every student. It completely depends upon every individual student’s weaknesses and strengths.

Taking a Practice Test

Other test prep academies provide a simplistic approach to picking a test. They simply advise students to take a full-length practice test for both college admissions tests and then compare the scores.

If a student scores higher on the SAT practice test, they advise her to take the SAT. If she scores higher on the ACT, they advise the student to take the ACT.

This is simplistic and detrimental advice. Why?

This approach merely produces a number.

  • It fails to measure the true skill of the student in reading, writing, or math
  • It fails to account for the student’s class level (CP, Honors) which often determines the highest possible score for a student on a particular test
  • It distracts students by causing them to focus on a test score instead of the skills needed to improve their test score

Beyond the Practice Test

While it is important to take a practice test, students should not stop there.

They need to:

  • Evaluate their performance by section and by type of question
  • Evaluate their school grades & GPA relative to their testing strengths & weaknesses
  • Create a game plan

This “take a practice test and see which test you score higher on” is not a strategy. It is short-sighted advice that robs students of the possibility of choosing the RIGHT test that would present them in the best possible light to college admissions committees.

The SAT and ACT overlap in many key areas.

The tests are similar in content, but because of the differences in format, a student may arrive at very different scores.

Students should keep both tests as an option, but prepare wisely.

College-aspiring students deserve an efficientprovendata-driven test prep strategy so they can earn and submit the best possible score on their college applications.

What To Do Next

At MEK Review, we regularly offer free SAT / ACT Test Events. Students can sign up for a free, full-length test to simulate real test conditions in a professionally proctored environment. We also provide a detailed evaluation of test performance by subject and type of question.

This June, we are offering a special SAT vs ACT: Test Event!

You can take a free SAT and/or ACT test, receive a detailed score report, and then meet with our expert teachers to learn which test is the best fit for you. This event will save you time and money, and you will walk away knowing exactly what test you should focus on.

Sign up today or call 855-346-1410 for more information.

We look forward to helping you.

Travis Park
Academic Counselor

Travis Park

Travis is a General Manager at MEK, but in addition, creates innovative and effective solutions for students, teachers and parents to ensure that MEK is always cutting edge in test preparation and academic enrichment. He works with parents and leadership to ensure that students are learning in a fun and challenging environment and parents are well-informed of their child’s progress.


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