Should my child take the SAT or the ACT? Most college counselors do not really know

By SAT ACT Test Prep

SAT or ACT?

While I generally have a great deal of respect for the college and guidance counselors that I know in Connecticut, I get bothered when some provide advice about standardized tests.  Most haven’t even looked at the tests in years and since most are a bit older most do not know much about the ACT.

For that reason, students will hear a few half-truths about the test.

“My counselor said the ACT was easier so I should take that test.”

This is partially true but not in the part that matters.  The ACT has easier questions than the SAT.  So, the test-taker will think she is better at the ACT.  That’s the true part.

But, both the SAT and ACT are curved.  So, in the only area that matters – the score – the ease of the test is not particularly relevant because the test is easier for everyone.

That the SAT and ACT are curved seems to be a point that has never been considered by many college counselors.

Curved tests that are easy are not necessarily a good thing for students from Connecticut because we have such a strong school system.   The harder the test, generally speaking, the better Connecticut students should do nationally.

This was proven just recently when the June SAT – a very test in terms of questions asked – had a brutal curve and many smart Connecticut students underperformed, largely due to making careless errors.

If I do give a generic answer, it is that many students should consider taking both tests.  The ACT is a wonderful “hedge your bet” test.  If it goes well, wonderful.  If it does not go well, no one will have to know.

That’s why we combined our test prep class into both an SAT and an ACT Prep class. 

Daryl Capuano

CEO, The Learning Consultants and Connecticut’s top private education consultant
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