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Which One To Go For: ACT or SAT?

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As if the traditional college application-related stress was not enough, they say, many ambitious high school students are now looking for another challenge to overcome. Some young people feel it is no longer enough for them to take only one college admission test. Instead, they opt for taking both: the ACT and the SAT.

Why? That is a hard one to answer. Indeed, there is absolutely no reason why one should seriously consider this: no college requires its applicants to take both, nor will the results of these two tests be somehow summed up to increase somebody’s chances of getting into a particular school. Perhaps the only explanation for this is that college-bound students want to be sure that by the end of the day they have done everything they can.

This mania or phobia, or whatever you call it, is further stirred by top-tier U.S. colleges such as Harvard, Stanford and Princeton that encourage their applicants to submit scores for both tests. Janet Rapelye, dean of admissions in Princeton, says taking just one test is fine but the two tests can give college admission officers more information on the student and eventually become the competitive edge many applicants are looking for.

So, should or should not a student take both tests? To answer this question, let us consider the main pros and cons of both options.

Pros of taking the ACT and the SAT:

- Taking both tests can make your college portfolio look really cool and increase your chances of getting into your top-choice college. Even if you score well on just one of the two tests, you will still stand a pretty good chance.

- You should take both tests if you are serious about applying to two schools that require different tests.

- If you choose to take both tests, you will be able to cover advanced math including trig, which is the ACT, and practice your vocabulary, which is the SAT.

- Taking both tests can help you decide on what discipline you would like to major in or what college subjects you would rather avoid taking.

Cons of taking the ACT and the SAT:

- Mastering one exam is easier than two. There are many SAT taking strategies or ACT prep tips available online so if you stick to only one test, you will have enough time and energy to prepare well.

- If you try to juggle up both tests, you might end up failing both. This is definitely the worst possible outcome.

- Both ACT and SAT preparation can be extremely exhausting. Many students who chose to take both tests say that made them feel physically and mentally ruined.

Since the two exams are different from each other and each of them requires a considerable amount of preparation time to ace, it is highly recommendable to take just one or the other to increase your chances of scoring high.



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