ACT vs SAT

I remember the stress of taking these standardized “make or break you” tests, and now I already have angst about it for my son who’s a sophomore! Plus, next year they’re breaking out a new, redesigned SAT, contributing to the grading complexity and stress of preparing. Our high school senior contributor has the scoop for us.


Well OTPers it’s that time of year. Are you ready for college? You better be, because as each year goes by it gets harder and harder to apply, get into, and attend the college of your dreams. I would know, because Photo from Chicago Academicyou are talking to the girl who knows every little fact when it comes to college and admittance but, lucky for you, I will share my info. First item of business, entrance exams.

For some reason the ACT and SAT define you as a student. Although I don’t agree with this, it is true.

One of these two tests is almost certain to determine whether or not you’ll get into and/or whether you’ll receive any scholarship money to your preferred school. So which test is best for you?

It is important to know that these tests are very different. The SAT only tests math, reading, and English and also has a required writing section. The ACT consists of four sections: English, math, reading, and science. The ACT’s writing section is not required, however most colleges do require this writing score for admittance. On the SAT wrong answers do count against you, but on the ACT they do not. How else are they different?

The SAT is based on more standard knowledge, as opposed to what you learned in high school. On the SAT you will not be tested on the detailed math you learned in pre-calculus, but you will be asked questions that require a lot of basic knowledge all put together. This fact makes this test seem easy, but do not be fooled — it is not. Questions are worded more difficultly and are meant to confuse you. The answer may not require you to dig much, but finding what the question is asking for does require digging.

The ACT is a test more based on what you learned in your high school courses. Your high school courses will prepare you for this exam to a certain extent. Questions are very straightforward and to the point, but, depending on what you have learned in high school thus far, you may not know how to answer the question. This test is based on a higher volume of knowledge.

imagesSo here is the hard part: which one should you take? Well it all depends on you as a student. Personally, I’m a straightforward person who does not sugar coat things; this points me towards the ACT. In my high school years, I have taken high courses of math and other subjects, which means I know a lot of high-level material — again pointing me towards the ACT. Although this rule of thumb does not always work, typically the students who take higher level courses will prefer and do better on the ACT, whereas students in on-level classes prefer the SAT.

Hopefully reading this gives you a clearer look into these two tests, but remember that at the end of the day everyone is different. It is important to research both tests, or maybe even try taking them both before limiting yourself to just one! So OTPers, happy researching and good luck!

Megan is an upcoming senior. She started to think about what to do for her senior project, and decided to do something a little out of her comfort zone and see where it would lead. So here she is writing, but writing about things 100% in her comfort zone. As a retail employee, she is obsessed with all the new trends in fashion, and as a typical high schooler, she is always looking for something to do. So she decided to write about her findings and share the Scoop on being a senior. 

Here’s some info on visiting a college and taking a tour. 

Extra Standardized Testing Scoop: The Cherokee Ledger has Cherokee Country Schools ranking 5th in the state for testing out of 180 school systems. Forsyth County gets to brag that with an average score of 1577, their schools recorded the highest district-wide SAT score among county school districts in the metro Atlanta area. It also was the top score in Georgia among the 23 districts that tested at least 500 students. In addition, their school system earned the highest math score in the state according to the Forsyth County News.