Comparing your ACT and SAT scores

If you’ve taken both the practice ACT and SAT, you’ve done so for a very specific reason: to figure out which test you should focus on going forward. Here’s the general list of priorities in figuring out which test is right for you:

1). The actual score comparison. Which score is literally higher? To check this, I recommend looking at this chart below from the ACT website.



2). Reading comprehension score: In most cases, students score similarly on their SAT and ACT exams and the chart above doesn’t help too much. This is by design. If there were commonly a huge difference between students ACT and SAT scores, the tests wouldn’t be standardized in a way that college admissions teams would find valuable. That said, there are real differences between both tests. Your students’ overall scores may be similar, but subsection scores may be different for your student on the ACT and SAT. Because reading comprehension is arguably the most difficult section to see dramatic improvement on both tests, logic suggests that your student should choose the test which had a better overall reading comprehension score.

3). Likability: If your students’ overall and reading comprehension scores are similar between the SAT and ACT, then your student should think about which test seemed more enjoyable. In some cases, I recommend students sacrifice a slightly better score on one test if they prefer another.

Many students hear rumors about the ACT and SAT. Stuff like “The ACT is better for STEM students” or “the SAT is easier because it’s slower.” In reality, it’s simply different strokes for different folks. Pepsi vs. Coke. Your student may think they prefer the slow, forgiving pace of SAT reading comprehension before actually taking the exam, but later realize that the SAT reading section is SOOO long and they’d rather take the faster-paced but less nuanced reading comprehension on the ACT.

The moral: you don’t know it until you try it. Try them both if you haven’t.

Until next time,


Ashland Prep