When I was in high school, one of my biggest worries was taking the SAT and getting the score I wanted. This worry surrounds most high schoolers, specifically juniors and seniors. I would study countless hours for it, and while I was improving, I still wasn’t at the score I wanted to be at.
My older siblings had taken the ACT, and my parents pushed me to try it, at least once. I had heard that it was “easier,” but of course, that’s subjective. However, I ended up taking my parents’ advice and registered for an upcoming date. I ended up receiving a score that was at least 70 points higher than my SAT score, and possibly more. (Since the conversions from SAT to ACT scores aren’t exact but convert from a range, so it could have been anywhere from 70-100 points.) I decided I would take it once more, and ended up with a score that was at least a 150 point increase from my highest SAT score. That’s a major difference! Here are some reasons I think it was better suited to my strengths:
- English and Reading Felt Easier
In school, English was my strong subject. However, on the SAT, I felt like it was very hard for me to improve. The questions were often confusing to me, and I didn’t feel like it was my strong suit on the SAT. On the ACT, however, I felt like the English and Reading questions were much more straightforward, and those scores helped boost my ACT score.
2. Science Section Helped Divide Score
On the ACT, there is a Science section, a section that is avoided if you take the SAT. Many students think that the ACT wouldn’t be a good suit for them, because they feel that they’re “not good at science.” However, as someone who was average at science, I can tell you from my own experience that the ACT Science section tests less Science and more your ability to interpret graphs and information. Rarely did I feel that I was actually being tested on fundamentals of high school science. Since it’s more of an “Interpretation” section than a science section, if this is something that sounds good for you, I would encourage you to try the ACT, since the addition of this section on the ACT means a score that is resulted from four categories, instead of three, which places less importance on them if there were only three sections in the first place.
I want to emphasize that I wasn’t doing the most hardcore studying. I didn’t take any outside tutoring and used books and practice tests as normal to prepare for the ACT. However, the different format of the ACT was better suited to my strengths, and I would encourage any high schooler to give it a try. I recognize that since ACT isn’t the free test offered in schools anymore like it used to be, it might be difficult for students to pay that out of pocket. In that case, you might be eligible to apply for a fee waiver. Regardless of what test you take, remember to not overload your schedule with studying and take time off to recoup! While standardized testing is still a norm most students have to adhere to, it’s important to realize that it is by no means, something that defines you.