When you begin preparing for college, one hurdle most students will need to jump over is the SAT and/or ACT exams. The SAT is a college entrance exam used to evaluate a student’s preparedness for college-level academics. The test is taken over 3 hours and includes Math, Reading, and Writing. The ACT is also a college entrance exam, but the ACT is a bit shorter and tests in English, Math, Science, Reading, as well as an optional essay writing portion. The ACT is said to be a more fast-paced exam as you will answer more questions in a shorter amount of time. So, which one should you take? Do colleges prefer the SAT or ACT?
In short, colleges generally have no preference between the SAT and ACT. You should take whichever test you feel you will do best on. You can participate in both SAT test prep and ACT test prep to decide which test may be the best fit for your test-taking style. Some students opt to take both tests, this may be a good choice for you as well.
You may want to consider talking to a College Admissions expert. Empowerly offers College Admissions Counseling Services. This service will match you with an expert Counselor who will be able to help you determine which test is best suited for your test-taking style and help you get the best score possible. Expert advice can make all the difference when you begin SAT test prep, ACT test prep, and apply to college.
What’s a Good SAT Score?
SAT scores are based on a range from 400 to 1600 points. Each SAT section can earn you between 200 and 800 points. The two main section scores are added to give you a total composite score. The average SAT score in 2020 was a composite score of 1051 with a reading and writing score of 528 and a math score of 523. The average SAT scores for colleges vary based on each school. Schools such as Cal Berkley have a reported average of 650-740 for reading and writing and 660-790 for math. Harvard’s reported average SAT score is 720-780 for reading and writing and 740-800 for math. These top-ranking schools expect top-ranking scores. It is important to compare your scores with the average scores of schools you are interested in to gain a good understanding of what it will take to get in.
What’s a Good ACT Score?
ACT scores range from 1 to 36. An average ACT score is 21 with a maximum score of 36. Colleges also vary in their average ACT scores admitted. For example, the average ACT score at UCLA is 31. The average ACT score at Columbia University is 34-35. Other schools such as Cal Poly have an average ACT score of 26-32. Be sure you know the average scores of the schools you hope to be admitted to. While your ACT score will not guarantee admission, it can be a major piece of your application package.
No matter what your starting SAT/ACT score is, there is likely room for improvement. General unfamiliarity with the test format, high-strung nerves, or not getting enough rest are all seemingly small things that impact performance. You can find great schools willing to accept a variety of scores. But, if you have your heart set on a specific school, you will need to perform at the highest levels. This may require work beyond an SAT prep guide or ACT prep guide. Empowerly offers great workshops through their Partnerships program. Empowerly partners with schools, businesses, and community organizations to offer excellent resources to students and their families. One resource provided evidence-backed test prep sessions with experts who have years of experience coaching students for these exams. Through a workshop, you could gain important information regarding SAT test prep and ACT test prep.
You can also explore Empowerly’s services via the Empowerly Quiz. The Empowerly Quiz will help you to understand your level of preparedness for college. If you want more detail on your current standing, sign up to calculate your Empowerly Score through the Empowerly Portal. Your Empowerly Score will give you detailed insight as to how you measure up against students applying to your same colleges. The index for the Empowerly Score includes both quantitative and qualitative measures to provide a thoughtful, holistic evaluation of each student.
Understanding your level of competitiveness can help you to create a plan to improve your chances of getting into the best schools before it is too late. You may need to take the SAT/ACT a few times to get your best score. You may also need some input on the best ways to study. If you are ready to take your college admission chances to the next level, contact Empowerly for a free 30-minute video consultation.