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View Full Version : how did you decide between the ACT and SAT?



Rebe
04-18-2012, 09:01 AM
Great info on Steph's PSAT/ACT thread -- I don't want to hijack it. :) I want to know how you all decide which test (ACT or SAT) to have your high schooler take? I know they're geared toward different abilities and that schools will take either.

My ds scored pretty well on a practice PSAT last year as a freshman, but I had been expecting him to take the ACT. But I don't know which is really the better test for him to take. I know he could take both, but IF we were to choose only one (which we very well might), how do you choose?

I do plan to do some research on this but would like to hear real-life stories of how people chose ACT vs. SAT.

Hollie in SC
04-18-2012, 09:08 AM
I went to a session on high school a few months back. This mom suggested taking several practice tests of each and just seeing which one they did best on and go from there.

Donna in MO
04-18-2012, 10:19 AM
Some schools require both; some require either/or. Depends on the school and the program, so you'll want to check with your student's school options to see what they want.

My high schooler will be taking the ACT because *IF* she goes to college, she'll either go to community college or do a specialty program such as culinary school. She doesn't need the SAT. :happyno:

We would have her take the ACT, though, even if she weren't/doesn't go to college.... just to have it done. ;) I figure standardized test taking is one of those "life skills", and it doesn't hurt anything to go ahead and take it.

Gitel in nj
04-18-2012, 12:05 PM
Rebe, I have a flyer somewhere that explains the differences. I will see if I can't unearth it or find it on line. One thing I do remember being told it that the ACT is (generally speaking) a better girl test. Also, ACT is learned knowledge whereas SAT is potential (ie. you learned it now what can you do with it)

No school requires both the SAT and the ACT, most schools accept either. One advantage of taking the ACT with writing is that most schools will then not require you take any SAT-2s.

Many, many kids take both to see which they do better on and then just use that score to send to colleges.

Will post when I find that info...

Rebe
04-18-2012, 12:45 PM
Thanks, Gitel -- I did read about 10 articles online this morning. :p I think I understand the differences much better now. You are a few steps ahead of me and I appreciate all the great info you have!

My ds tests well, I think. He did well on both the Stanford and the PSAT. He doesn't stress out and he understands the strategies (huge difference in strategy between the SAT and ACT, apparently, as far as if you should guess or not).

I explained the differences to him this morning and he immediately said he wanted to take the ACT. I agree with him. He's apparently learned enough trig in his geometry course to get him through the ACT okay. He's really balking at the writing component, but he's a good writer (he just hates to do it) so I may force that on him. :unsure:

He's very much "just the facts, ma'am," and wants to be tested on what he knows, rather than on how well he thinks/potential. He also doesn't want to study all the vocab for the SAT. ;)

Rebe
04-18-2012, 12:55 PM
I went to a session on high school a few months back. This mom suggested taking several practice tests of each and just seeing which one they did best on and go from there.

Yeah, that sounds like the obvious solution, but my ds won't spend his time or brain on that. I'm not sure that's really the most efficiient method, KWIM? I can't imagine a teen willingly taking that many practice tests -- but maybe my ds is unusual, or uncooperative. :unsure:

I think we're more likely to research them, pick one, have him study for it, and take it several times.

Jill in Monrovia
04-18-2012, 04:12 PM
According to mommy friends, a high score on the ACT around here will get you free tuition. You might want to see at the schools he's interested in if there's scholarship $ for high scores on either the SAT or ACT or just one.

Jill in Monrovia

Leslie Nelsen
04-18-2012, 04:53 PM
Christopher took a number of practice tests of both. He ended up taking both to see if he did better on one versus the other. Just wanted to take advantage of any options we had for an advantage for getting into college or getting aid. :)

Gitel in nj
04-18-2012, 04:57 PM
High scores on either (or both) of those tests can help you get merit money but it depends on what tier school you are applying to. Trust me when I tell you it is not a guarantee.

My son did as well as you can possibly do on the SAT and at the level of school we are looking at there is no merit money. None. If he takes a step-down then, yes..we could be looking at free-rides. :clap: Not sure what we will do but nothing in this process is a guarantee. NOTHING.

Donna in MO
04-18-2012, 05:09 PM
High scores on either (or both) of those tests can help you get merit money but it depends on what tier school you are applying to. Trust me when I tell you it is not a guarantee.

My son did as well as you can possibly do on the SAT and at the level of school we are looking at there is no merit money. None. If he takes a step-down then, yes..we could be looking at free-rides. :clap: Not sure what we will do but nothing in this process is a guarantee. NOTHING.

I'm watching this truth bear out as our pastor's dd is currently trying to decide what to do. Apparently a strong classical education, many competition awards in piano, track, and academics (outside classes at a university-style Christian school for homeschoolers), and high ACT and SAT scores are not enough to automatically win her the scholarships she wants. She's had interviews at three different schools, as well many emails and phone calls back and forth, and has been awarded NOTHING except for one scholarship out of several for which she's applied.

And these aren't ivy league schools we're talking about. Two of them are state universities. But she couldn't even get a scholarship at the community college! :eek: Why? Because she's homeschooled, and only 50% of homeschooling parents keep a GPA for their student. (So let's just throw 'em all out, yeah, that's the solution. :unsure: ) After her parents got HSLDA involved, the financial people at the school changed their tune and said "We'll allow the first two homeschooled students who apply be considered for this scholarship. Apply now." I don't know the outcome of that.

Getting accepted into the schools to which she applied was no problem. It's the scholarships. :unsure: