Should my child take the SAT or the ACT?

By General Education Advice

act_sat_l[1]“My son is unsure of which test to take.” So begins a typical conversation with a Connecticut parent sorting out whether to take the SAT or ACT.

The answer has now become more clear in my mind, at least for Connecticut public school students. It is no longer “which” but rather “should I also?”

All Connecticut public school students have to take the SAT as part of a recently passed state law. The SAT has become the test of educational measurement for Connecticut students related to federal education guidelines. They must meet a minimum standard.  So whether to take the SAT is now irrelevant for Connecticut public school students.  They must.

The more relevant question is whether students should also take the ACT. The answer is probably. Here’s why: for most students, the ACT has always provided either an attractive alternative to the SAT or a good “hedge your bet” strategy in case one performed better on the ACT than the ACT. So, even before the new SAT, I would advise Connecticut students to strongly consider taking the ACT. But the new SAT is causing anxiety due to its unknown nature. For that reason, taking the ACT also is a likely good strategy for most Connecticut students.