That’s a critical question. And if you’re a high school junior or your child is a junior, now is the time to find out.
Fall of 11th grade is the ideal time to learn whether to take the SAT or ACT. Getting the information you need to make this critical decision now will help you:
- Maximize your scores,
- Waste less time and money, and
- Reap the benefits to applying earlier.
Unlike 20+ years ago, half of college-bound students take the ACT, while the other half take the SAT. The increase in students taking the ACT does not reflect an advantage that that test offers in the admissions process. The SAT and ACT compare to Coke and Pepsi; they are competing, similar products that – in the end – taste just the same to some people, and taste very different to others. However, like soda vending machines, colleges use these products in exactly the same role. And they know how to compare the scores without discriminating that one test style is better than the other.
Recognizing that the SAT and ACT are interchangeable, it then makes sense for students to understand that taking more than one of these types of tests is wasting time and money. And time and money are finite, precious resources, especially in the last two years of high school. Like a marathon runner trains by mostly running, you’ll want to pick your test, and prepare for that test only, and with dedication.
How do you pick your test? Find The Right College Offers a proven strategy for helping you find out which one suits you best so you can maximize your score. The five key benefits to this strategy are:
- You can complete your online evaluation on your own time wherever you have access to a computer.
- It will take you far less time than other offerings.
- It will cost you less than paying testing fees.
- You won’t waste precious Saturday mornings taking full-length exams you won’t use.
- You’ll have 24/7 access to test prep materials.
Fall of Junior year is the time to establish your own personal plan for studying for and taking standardized tests. Most students are able to reach their highest scores from mid-11th grade to mid-12th grade, so if you begin planning for those testing dates now, you’ll have the critical time you need to prepare and choose test dates.
Importantly, you’ll need to have completed your testing by October of 12th grade for many Early Decision and Early Action deadlines; therefore, having a plan to take your test of choice 2-3 times before October of 12th grade is best.
Starting now is critical, because that will help you spread out your test prep. And unlike studies for some of your quizzes and tests, these tests are not something you can pull off last minute if you want to score your best.
Fitz has dedicated the entirety of his 25 year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. He worked in the Vanderbilt, Duke Law and St. Lawrence admissions offices prior to serving as an enrollment management consultant for dozens of colleges around the country. He partnered with his former Vanderbilt colleague, Nicole Cook, to form Find The Right College and support their mission to make trustworthy college counseling more accessible.