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Should you take the SAT or ACT in 2014?


One of the most common questions we get here at AJ Tutoring is whether a student should take the ACT in addition to (or instead of) the SAT. Read on for more information to help you make the decision!

How do the SAT and ACT differ?

  • ACT questions are generally more straightforward
  • The ACT has a science section, which the SAT does not have
  • The SAT tests more vocabulary
  • Math on the SAT only includes algebra and geometry, while math on the ACT includes more advanced trigonometry
  • The SAT is split up into more sections
  • The ACT is a faster-paced test

So, which test should my student take?
It’s difficult to predict which test is a better fit until students actually take the tests and compare their scores.  Subjectively, most students prefer the ACT because it feels like an easier test.  However, after the scores are scaled, most students get similar scores on both tests.  Some students, though, perform much better on one test — and since colleges accept both tests for admission, we always recommend trying both the SAT and ACT!

How can my student take a practice ACT test?
AJ Tutoring offers free proctored practice tests for current students most Saturday mornings at our Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and San Jose offices.  Students are welcome to take a practice ACT, which we will score and compare to prior PSAT and SAT scores.  If it’s clear that the student’s score is much higher on one test than the other, it’s an easy decision — that’s the test we should focus on in the spring.  However, if the scores are similar, we recommend preparing for both tests.

How do we prepare for the ACT?
Because so much of the content on the tests is similar, AJ Tutoring offers a shorter ACT hybrid program for students who have already completed a full SAT preparation with us.  The ACT hybrid program, which is typically four sessions, focuses on strategies and timing unique to the ACT.  If your student is only planning on taking the ACT, we also offer a comprehensive 8-9 session preparation for the ACT alone.

To find ACT test dates for 2014 and to register for the ACT, please go to the ACT’s website.

If you would like to register your student for a practice ACT or would like to speak to a director about ACT tutoring in more detail, please give us a call at (650) 331-3251 or email us at info@ajtutoring.com.  We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

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