A key component of student applications to universities is typically standardized testing. Nearly all four-year universities require students to report some sort of test score; what kind, however, is up to the student. The two most common testing options are the American College Test (ACT) and the SAT. Almost universally accepted by colleges nationwide, most applicants take one or the other by their senior year. With multiple variations between tests, students are faced with the dilemma of choosing which test to take. A simple, beneficial solution to this issue is simply taking both. Giving students more options to score higher, providing more information to universities being applied to, and being completely risk-free, taking both the SAT and the ACT offers students the best option.
At first glance, taking both tests can seem overwhelming. Obtaining a decent score on just one test is a difficult task on its own, so trying to ace both exams can induce stress just by thinking about it. Yet, at closer inspection, taking the two is not as much work as one would think because the ACT and the SAT are very similar. Chances are, if you can ace the math section of the SAT, you will probably do exceptionally well on the math ACT, as both exams ask questions based on school curricula. Yes, there are slight variations, but they are generally unimportant in terms of the overall tests. Essentially, in preparing for one test, one is indirectly preparing for the other.
Additionally, taking the SAT and the ACT can only aid, not harm, college applications. According to Janet Rapelye, Dean of admissions at Princeton University, submitting both tests can provide more valuable information to schools.
“For us, more information is always better…if they submit both [tests], that generally gives us more information,” Rapelye said in an interview with the New York Times.
Finally, there is no risk in taking both exams. If for whatever reason, one score does not meet the standards, there is no obligation to report that score in applications. Thus, taking both exams is beneficial at best, and unimportant at worst.
Ultimately, which exam—or exams—to take is up to the student, but it is clear that taking both the SAT and the ACT is the most beneficial option.