Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

How To Decide Which Test to Take – ACT or SAT

Which test is better for you, the ACT or SAT? Don’t go on a hunch! Use scores to help you find the test that will give you an advantage.

Below are the steps we recommend and a scoring table to help you compare scores on the new SAT to those on the ACT and even the old SAT.

  • Make sure that your child takes a carefully timed and supervised baseline ACT to compare that score with his or her PSAT scores. (Junior PSAT scores are a good predictor of SAT scores.)

Marks Education offers free, supervised practice tests for clients in our offices. We use real ACTs released by the ACT company.

  • Once you have the scores for both tests, use the chart below to see whether your child did better on the ACT or SAT, using the junior year PSAT score to substitute for an SAT score if you wish.
  • If the score comparison indicates that one test is better by a margin of one ACT point or more, direct your child toward that test.
  • If the scores are comparable, ask your child to consider the following factors:
  1. Which test did she or he feel better taking? Comfort level with the test is a big factor in eventual performance, so students should think about this carefully.
  2. Slower, deliberate test takers should lean toward the SAT.
  3. Students who struggle with reading comprehension passages from older texts (think Benjamin Franklin, Virginia Woolf, or Jeremy Bentham) should lean towards the ACT.
  4. Students who like to move quickly through surface questions should favor the ACT.

Important: Choose either the ACT or the SAT and focus on that test. The tests are different enough that, for most students, studying for both is a tremendous waste of time. Also, preparing for both may prevent score improvement. The SAT prioritizes careful consideration, while the ACT prioritizes speed. Most students who switch back and forth between tests follow the wrong strategies for each test, and this affects potential improvement.

How to Compare Scores Across Tests

The following table compares scores across the “new” or redesigned SAT, the ACT, ACT percentiles, the “old” 2400-point SAT offered prior to March 2016, and the same SAT on a 1600 point scale (Reading and Math sections only). It’s based on 14 pages of data tables published by College Board on April 9, 2016 and on the 2006 concordance studies published by College Board and ACT.

[su_table url=”” responsive=”no” class=””]

ACT Composite ACT Percentile SAT Total 2018 SAT Total 2016
36 99 1590 1600
35 99 1540 1570
34 99 1500 1540
33 98 1460 1500
32 97 1430 1470
31 96 1400 1430
30 94 1370 1400
29 92 1340 1360
28 89 1310 1320
27 86 1280 1290
26 82 1240 1260
25 78 1210 1220
24 74 1180 1180
23 69 1140 1140
22 63 1110 1110
21 57  1080 1070
20 51 1040 1030
19 44 1010 990
18 38 970 950
17 31 930 910
16 25 890 870
15 19 850 830
14 13 800 780
13 8 760 740
12 4 710
11 1 670
10 1 630
9 1 590

[/su_table]

Latest Posts
Archives
Archives
Categories
Categories
Resources