As Connecticut students gear up for the PSATs in October (juniors and sophomore), many parents from our Shoreline area will call to inquire: “Do you think my child will do better on the SAT or the ACT?”
Of all the misinformation and partial truths that I hear passed around the soccer mom parent set about standardized tests, the myth that some students will do extraordinarily well on the ACT but terribly on the SAT is likely the biggest. At least in this geographic area, there is no one who has more experience or expertise in test prep training so I hope I can at least allay the concerns of some parents who are suffering over this question.
In fifteen years of training students in both the SAT and the ACT, I have observed the following pattern:
A specific high school junior does not prepare for the PSATs, performs terribly, and then builds up a psychological wall against the SAT. He or she is told that there is this other test called the ACT, delights that there is an escape from the SAT, and prepares vigorously for the ACT. Due to that work, he/she does far better on the ACT and then that story becomes part of the mythology that some people will do far better on the ACT than the SAT.
The SAT and the ACT have always been rigorous standardized tests that measure reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and grammar skills. The ACT also has a science section. There are subtle differences and it is true that some students will perform better on one test to the other. But the vast majority of students who prepare similarly for each test perform similarly on each test. For that reason, we offer a class that prepares students for both. Indeed, my general advice is that most students take both.
SAT or ACT. Probably both. Two weapons in your child’s college admissions arsenal. Register now for our next SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar.