ACT: As students get older, school gets harder and they must take on more responsibilities. The biggest of these stresses is completing standardized tests that have a lot of implication for which colleges students will attend.
While preparing for college and building the best resume, students and their families must decide which test is best to take to better students’ chances to get into a college they desire. The two main standardized tests that students have to decide between are the ACT and the SAT. The ACT is known to be the more difficult of the two for students because it is more time sensitive than the SAT. However, it is also the better test to take if students follow the right process while preparing for the biggest test of their lives.
The ACT has four sections and the score of each section is averaged out to form the composite score for the ACT. They also take an additional writing section, which is scored out of 12 points and is taken after the other four sections. The essay on the SAT is scored out of eight points. The essay section is optional and if test-takers chose to take it, they will be given 40 minutes to complete it.
In the essay students write about whether they agree or disagree with any of three perspectives listed about a predetermined issue in society. Students such as junior Maddy Elster prefer to take the ACT over the SAT and without the essay because of the way the essay makes her feel. “Writing the essay hurts my hands and makes my brain feel like mashed potatoes. Enough is enough and the essay is more than enough,” Elster said.
Students begin the test filling out bubbles with their information for about 30 minutes followed by the writing section, which is 75 questions with 45 minutes to complete. After the writing section is the math, which is 60 questions in 60 minutes and a calculator is given for this portion of the test. Test-takers are given a 10 to 15 minute break after the math section and following the break they are given the reading section, in which they have 35 minutes to complete 40 questions. The last of the tests scored is the science, which is also 40 questions in 35 minutes. The ACT takes approximately two hours and 55 minutes without the essay, while the SAT takes about three hours without the essay.
Students such as senior Gautam Tele deal with large amounts of stress in their high school years and additional testing time does not help. “I liked taking the ACT more because it was shorter and I am always trying to get out of the test room as quickly as possible,” Tele said.
The SAT is scored on a scale from 400-1600 while the ACT is 1-36. The questions on the ACT are known to be more difficult but more straightforward while the questions on the SAT are known to be more context-based with multi- step problem solving. Also, the SAT is offered to students seven times a year while the ACT is offered six times per year.
Students like junior James Hollingsworth like the ACT more than the SAT because of the simplicity of the ACT scale compared to that of the SAT. “I like how the ACT scale is only out of 36 instead of 1600 like the SAT,” Hollingsworth said.
SAT: Students, parents, and schools have debated over the SAT and ACT: Which one is better to take? That question has finally been answered. The new SAT is better, because there is no science section, students have more time, and problems on the test tend to be easier.
Science can be a difficult subject for students, and for those taking the SAT they won’t have to worry about it on one of the biggest tests of their lives. Sophomore Yuvi Singh, who plans to take the SAT said, “A big reason that I’m taking the SAT is because there is no science section. It’s not my best subject so I’m staying away from it.”
In addition the SAT isn’t as time intensive; students get much more time per problem in comparison to the ACT. After quizzes or tests, students usually go over answers and check them to make sure they picked the right one. If students pick the ACT, they most likely won’t be able to do that.
Also, the ACT and SAT essays differ. In the ACT essay, students are given perspectives that they need to either argue for or against. For the SAT, there is an argument and support that students have to evaluate. In some cases this could be easier, because students wouldn’t have to take the time to come up with their own argument. “Taking the SAT would be easier for me, because in English I don’t do well on my essays. If I’m not making the argument I feel like I could have a better chance of doing well,” sophomore Ryan Van Meter said.
Another reason why the SAT could be better for students is because on the test there is a no calculator section. At first you may be thinking, why would that be better? It’s because the problems aren’t as hard. These problems are easy enough that they don’t require the use of a calculator.
Even though there are differences, parts of the tests are similar. Both take around three to four hours, both test students skills on reading, math, and English, and the goals are the same. “Personally, it doesn’t matter which test I take as long as I get a good enough score to go to the school I want,” sophomore Matthew Kopsidas said.
Because the two tests are similar, students sometimes take both. Last year alone over 1.5 million students took the SAT and over 1.5 million students took the ACT. About 150,000 of those students decided to take both tests, Green Test Prep reported.
Ultimately, the SAT is superior because, there is no science section, students get more time, and the writing portion is easier for students.