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SAT or ACT or both?

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SAT or ACT or both?

Aina Katsikas, Reporter

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Every year, millions of high school students take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT) in pursuit of college acceptance.

Most universities judge both tests equally; however, each exam tests different skills.

The SAT tests verbal and reasoning capabilities; it is an aptitude exam. It has three sections: mathematics, critical reading and writing. The ACT measures what a student has learned in school because it is an achievement test. It tests five different subjects: English, mathematics, science, reading and an optional writing section.

“A teammate of mine once compared the ACT and SAT to swimming: the ACT is for the people who can endure through long distance races and the SAT is for those who muscle through short sprints.  The sections on the SAT are short and repeat; whereas on the ACT, you only have one chance to do well on each section before it’s time to move on. I’d say that if you are good at English, proofreading and vocabulary, take the SAT,” said senior Hallie Pound.

Scoring also differs between the two. Guessing is not encouraged on the SAT because it penalizes test takers by deducting points for wrong answers. The ACT score is based on the number of correct answers.

“ACT is more curriculum-based while SAT is more critical thinking-based. I notice a significant number of students at Sacred Hearts Academy score much higher on the ACT,” said college counselor Randall Fong.

The SAT is typically administered five times a year in January, March, May, June and December. Students can take the ACT six times a year usually in September, October, December, February, April and June.

“The SAT test appeals to students who excel in critical thinking. The test not only requires students to demonstrate their skills concerning the subjects on the test, but also their ability to choose the questions they want to answer and those that they know will hurt them,” said alumna Sara Tashima ‘14.

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SAT or ACT or both?