ACT vs. SAT: Which is better and why?

The+ACT+is+designed+to+test+a+high-schooler%E2%80%99s+ability+and+preparation+for+college-level+work+and+it+is+used+for+college+admission+in+schools+around+the+country.+The+SAT+is+based+on+a+1600+point-scale%2C+which+averages+the+three+sections+the+standardized+test+contains.
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ACT vs. SAT: Which is better and why?

The ACT is designed to test a high-schooler’s ability and preparation for college-level work and it is used for college admission in schools around the country. The SAT is based on a 1600 point-scale, which averages the three sections the standardized test contains.

The ACT is designed to test a high-schooler’s ability and preparation for college-level work and it is used for college admission in schools around the country. The SAT is based on a 1600 point-scale, which averages the three sections the standardized test contains.

Ashley Shore

The ACT is designed to test a high-schooler’s ability and preparation for college-level work and it is used for college admission in schools around the country. The SAT is based on a 1600 point-scale, which averages the three sections the standardized test contains.

Ashley Shore

Ashley Shore

The ACT is designed to test a high-schooler’s ability and preparation for college-level work and it is used for college admission in schools around the country. The SAT is based on a 1600 point-scale, which averages the three sections the standardized test contains.

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Standardized Testing. It’s a phrase that many high-schoolers around the country fear.  Hours of testing, headaches that always seem to follow the test and the fear of not getting a high enough score all result in a traumatizing experience.  

The EHS Hub sat down with Jeffery Buckman, the college career specialists at Eureka High School to take a look at two of the most important tests in a high-schooler’s career and hopefully make them more manageable.  American College Testing and Scholastic Aptitude Test.

 What are they, how important are they, and what’s the difference? 

The ACT is designed to test a high-schooler’s ability and preparation for college-level work and it is used for college admission in schools around the country.

“In the ACT, there’s four subsections. English, math, reading and science.” Jeffery Buckman, College Counselor, said.

Similarly to the ACT, the SAT is also used for college admissions in the United States. It is commonly taken by students throughout their junior year in high school, with a similar format to the ACT.

 “[The SAT has] English in syntax, grammar, sentence structure, things like that.” Buckman said.  “Math is all the way through Algebra 2 and a few trig questions. Reading is three paragraphs, answering questions based on what you read in the paragraph.” 

In regard to scores, the ACT averages the scores for each section to come up with a score of 1-36.  These scores are then used as a benchmark on college applications to determine whether the applicant is admissible to the school. 

“A good number to shoot for in any state school in Missouri is a 24,” Buckman said.

As stated in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the average ACT score in Missouri is around 22.6.

“More than 34,000 graduates in 2018 took the ACT two or more times for an average composite score of 22.6”.

According to a 2018 study, 51 Eureka graduates committed to the University of Missouri. To go to Mizzou, a higher score of a 23 ACT score is required.

Furthermore, the SAT is based on a 1600 point-scale, which averages the three sections the standardized test contains.

While these tests are important, they aren’t the only thing colleges look at when deciding whether or not to accept an applicant.

“They’re going to look at GPA with the test scores, Buckman said.  “Some schools use a sliding scale. The lower the test score goes, the higher the grades go and vice-versa. A lot more schools are going test-optional, meaning if you just submit GPA and transcript, you don’t need a test score to get in, which makes sense.  That’s a four year track record of your motivation and work ethic, not a three hour test.”

That being said, these tests should be taken seriously, and lots of preparation can be done beforehand.  

“Do better on your grades [to prepare for ACT and SAT].  If you do good on your English, Math and Science, it translates well to [ACT and SAT scores].”

But what’s the difference between the ACT and the SAT?  Comparing the two, there is no major difference besides the format and the lack of science on the SAT.

“The biggest difference is there’s no science on [the SAT], and with the ACT you take one section at a time, so 30-45 minutes per section,” Buckman said.  “With the SAT, you’re still doing the same math, but breaking it up into smaller sections. You might do 20 minutes of math, 20 minutes of english, back to 20 minutes of math, so your brain is jumping around a bit more.”

Currently, both tests are accepted at colleges around the country.

“Nowadays, no college cares which one you take,” Buckman said. “They’ll take the highest of either one.”

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