The SAT is a daunting exam. Plus, it’s not a direct part of your schooling, so why take the SAT? Well, as it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons.
On of the most significant reasons is how the test affects your college options, though there are other considerations, too. In this article, we’ll talk about all the reasons to take the SAT, including why it might be a better test for you than the ACT.
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If you’re applying to college in the USA, you will almost certainly need to submit SAT (or ACT) scores. Now, any college that requires these scores will accept the SAT or the ACT (or both, if you’re so inspired).
You should also be aware that there’s a growing number of test-optional and test-blind schools out there—schools that either don’t require or else don’t even want your test scores.
However—and we really want to stress this point—these schools remain the exception, not the rule. For the most part, schools want (and even demand) to see those SAT or ACT scores. Taking the SAT or ACT thus means keeping a considerable number of options open that would otherwise be closed to you.
#2 Some Jobs Require or Expect SAT Scores
This doesn’t apply just to jobs in the test prep arena, either; a surprising range of companies ask job-seekers from entry-level consulting applicants to senior-level banking applicants, to cough up old SAT or ACT scores.
It may not be standard practice, but you don’t want to pass on the perfect job because an employer wants test scores and you don’t have them.
#3 The SAT Does Not Have a Science Section
So far, we’ve focused on reasons you should take a standardized test, but this is one of the big reasons you might prefer the SAT specifically: it doesn’t include a dedicated science section—while the ACT does. Granted, the SAT does include some scientific reading passages and a little bit of data to interpret, but if every science class is your own personal nightmare, it might be wise to skip the ACT’s 40-question, 35-minute Science section and take the SAT instead. For those who are not scientifically inclined, it’s definitely the lesser of two evils.
#4 The SAT Is Taken at a Slower Pace
Now, the SAT is a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) longer than the ACT: five minutes longer without the essay, fifteen minutes longer with the essay. Given that, though, consider the following data on how many minutes and seconds are allocated to each question on either test. What you’ll see is that the ACT is much more rushed.
If you get nervous or overly stressed under time constraints, the SAT is the test for you. You’ll still have to compete with the clock, but it won’t be as frantic as the ACT.
SAT Reading questions come in the order of the progression of each passage, complete with line numbers to help you find the point of reference. The ACT is lacking these features; it involves a lot more scrambling to situate what the questions are even discussing. If the extra help that the SAT provides is important to you, consider taking the SAT rather than the ACT.
#6 The SAT Is Heavy on Algebra, Light on Geometry and Trig
Geometry and trigonometry are present on the SAT, but they are not as prevalent as they are on the ACT. Algebra, on the other hand, takes center stage on the SAT.
Almost everyone has some preference between algebra and geometry; if algebra is your favored subsection of math, the SAT will let you shine.
#7 The SAT Doesn’t Cover As Many Math Concepts
For instance, logarithms, matrices, and graphs of trigonometric functions are all absent from the SAT (but present on the ACT). If you struggle with a few nitty-gritty topics like these but have mastered algebra reasonably well, the SAT might be the perfect test to take.
#8 The SAT Essay Is a Literary Analysis Task
You don’t have to argue a personal opinion or pass a judgment about any argumentative case’s moral superiority on the SAT essay. Instead, you’re producing commentary on a piece of source text. With the ACT, on the other hand, you have to argue the relative merits of solutions to complex issues. If you excel at literary analysis but shy away from debates, the SAT may just be the way to go.
#9 A good SAT can balance a low GPA
After your first two years, it can be rather difficult to change or boost your GPA, especially if it was lower than you would have liked during your freshman and sophomore years. Scoring high on the SAT offers you another opportunity to show the college or university how far you’ve come academically, even if your GPA is a little lower than expect or want. It’s your opportunity to show you can work under pressure, study hard, and perform well.
#10 There are far more testing locations for the SAT than for the ACT in Asia
The ACT organizers have been working to expand the number of testing centers over the past few years, but it is still far easier to find a convenient location to take the SAT than the ACT.