SAT Vs ACT: Background and Comparison

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Both the SAT and ACT serve as tools to offer admissions officials a method of comparing students from varying schools, with varying teachers, curricula, resources, and difficulty on a level playing field. Both are intended to asses a student’s capacity with skills considered essential to succeeding in post-secondary environments.


The ACT (American College Testing) entered the scene in 1959 as a competitor against the SAT, (which has been around since the start of the 20th century), intending to address claims that the SAT was racially and socioecnomically biased toward the white and wealthy. Originally called the Scholastic Aptitude test, the SAT changed its name to the Scholastic Assessment Test after being challenged regarding its capacity to serve as an intelligence test; then to the SAT I: Reasoning Test after criticism that it neither accurately assessed scholastic achievement in school, nor accurately predicted a student’s performance in college. Most recently, in the 2005, the test has adopted the slightly simpler name of the SAT Reasoning test. For years after the ACT first made its debut, it remained popular almost exclusively in the Southern and Midwestern states of the U.S. Now that most colleges across the country claim to regard both tests equally, the ACT has seen expansion toward the coasts. In fact, SAT test-takers have decreased somewhat in recent years, while the ACT has seen an increase in its number of test-takers. However, both still remain under scrutiny for their respective shortcomings, as an sat kursu optional movement has resulted within the scheme of some college admissions offices. For these SAT optional schools, the SAT is not a requirement for students to be considered for admission – much to the delight of many colleges bound students. Basic Distinctions

However, the SAT is generally perceived as a test of a student’s ability to think critically and apply logic for effective problem solving, while the ACT more closely mimics classroom material students have encountered during their high school years. Therefore, the SAT has more to do with assessing a student’s way of thinking, while the ACT has more to do with testing what a student has learned in school. This distinction suggests that the SAT may be a better option for students more prone to “figuring” things out, while the ACT may be a better option for students most confident in their book smarts.

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