Why would I want to take the ACT rather than the SAT?
Unlike your parents’ generation, the ACT is now accepted at all schools requiring a test for admission. You can see for yourself the popularity of the ACT in this map:
There are a myriad of old wives’ tales about the ACT and I’m not here to dispel all of them. Rather, I’m here to give you a synopsis of the tests:
The SAT is trickier (more on that in a later blog post), yet you have more time per question. Students, for the most part, can finish the test or at least their stronger section(s).
The ACT, while not as tricky in terms of its questions and answer choice, allows you less time per question. Even those scoring in the 30s tend to leave sections unfinished.
The ACT offers a little more privacy about scores.
In any case, the best method to find the better test for you is to take a practice test of each within the same week. By practice test, I mean REAL practice test, not the practice tests made by big box companies. Those tests tend to be harder than the real thing and graded on a more severe scale as well.
Why the ACT might be a better test for you
You might want to take the ACT rather than the SAT if:
You score better on a practice ACT than on a practice SAT
You score about the same on a practice ACT and and SAT, but prefer the format of the ACT. With the ACT, though the math section is an hour long, there is only one math section. Despite having a Science section, only 10% (4 of the 40 questions) rely on previous scientific knowledge. The majority of questions on the ACT science section are based on your ability to understand quantitative data, read charts, and interpolate/extrapolate information from graphs.
You prefer the upcoming ACT test dates over those of the SAT, and your practice scores were similar. That has happened with more than one of my students. Their schedules were more in sync with the ACT dates.
You need the SAT dates to take SAT Subject tests as your application deadlines are looming. For you, the only way to take the SAT subject tests would be to take the primary test (ACT) on dates when the SAT is not offered.
Best Upcoming ACT Test Dates 2018/19 for You
Best is the July 14th date. You are generally not yet overwhelmed by school and assignments. This allows you adequate time and mental space to prepare over the summer. Whether you are working with mcstutoring.com for prep or on your own, you will have fewer demands on your time than during the school year.
The second best date for the test is September 8th of your junior year or earlier. This is before the school year is completely underway. You can use the summer to prep for your ACT and still have enough time left over for school. Even if you are a senior, this allows you plenty of time to focus on writing your college application essays.
The April and June test dates are generally best avoided. This is because they often conflict with the time needed for AP tests, end of the year projects, and finals. You can take your ACT on these dates if you must. Just realize that other demands on your time might prevent you from devoting the time you need to prepare adequately for the ACT.
Upcoming ACT Dates and Prepping
Whether you prep on your own or with mcstutoring, you will want to select the upcoming ACT test date that works best for you. If you are taking practice tests, you want to begin at least 4-6 weeks from the date of your actual ACT. This way, you can take at least 4 practice ACT tests to familiarize yourself with the material. Then, you can focus on your weakest areas while ensuring you earn all the points you can from your strongest areas.
Want a little more guidance? Contact mcstutoring today or set up your introductory session.