SAT or ACT and Other FAQs

Ivy Experience answers your SAT & ACT questions!
Should I take the SAT or ACT?

Many students have heard that the SAT or ACT is a “better” or “easier” test. But it is not a question of which test is better. The truth is, it varies by student.

Due to changes in the new SAT format, the SAT and ACT are more similar than ever. Still, we find that students usually perform much better on one test than on the other. The only way to determine which test to take is to do a full practice SAT and a full practice ACT, and then compare your scores.

If you do not have time to take two whole tests, then ask us for a free condensed diagnostic test to determine whether you should take the new SAT or ACT.

Is the SAT or ACT more important for college admissions?

All colleges view the SAT and ACT equally. Neither test is seen as more prestigious or important by admissions officers. You should take the ACT if you score higher on the ACT and the SAT if you score higher on the SAT.

Again, you can compare your scores SAT and ACT scores here.

Should I take both the SAT and the ACT?

Again, it varies. There is no harm in taking a second test. If you do poorly on the second test, then colleges never need to know you took it. If you do better on the second test, then colleges never need to know you took the first.

But there are questions you have to ask yourself: am I already in the score range for my target schools? Do I want the extra stress? Was my diagnostic score on the second test much lower than my score on the first?

As often in this process, there is no one-answer-fits-all approach.

Do I have to take the SAT or ACT?

Students who want to go to college do not necessarily need to take the SAT or ACT anymore. Some schools are now “test optional” or “test flexible” and do not require standardized test scores from students.

If you believe that SAT or ACT scores would damage your application, then consider investigating schools that are test optional and test flexible.

What does it mean when schools “superscore” the SAT or ACT?

Superscoring is when schools combine a student’s best subscores from multiple test dates to create a new total score.

For example, say a student took the SAT twice and scored as follows:

January: 600 verbal, 650 math, 1250 total

May: 650 verbal, 630 math, 1280 total

Schools that superscore would see a 1300 (650 verbal, 650 math).

Click here for a list of schools that superscore the ACT.

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