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Exploring the ACT: A Vital Alternative for Students in the 2023-2024 School Year

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

By Laura Whitmore

When preparing for college admissions, many students and parents default to the SAT without considering other viable options. The ACT, often seen as the SAT's lesser-known counterpart, can offer several key advantages for students. Especially if your SAT score has reached a plateau, considering the ACT might provide you with a new path to success. In this blog post, we'll explore some reasons why the ACT could be the right choice for you. If you prefer, you may also watch my latest video.

To get a better idea of what test would play well with your skill set, I would also encourage you to take the "Is the SAT or ACT Better for Me" quiz.

1. Debunking the Myth: ACT and SAT Are Equally Valued

The misconception that the SAT is superior to the ACT is widespread, but it's essential to debunk this myth. Both the SAT and ACT are seen as equal by most colleges, even the elite ones. If your SAT scores are stagnant, it might be worth taking a practice ACT to see if it suits your skill set better. Who knows, you might even find yourself scoring higher without additional studying.

2. A Test Unchanged: Stability in ACT's Format

Unlike the SAT, which is undergoing changes for U.S. students in 2024, the ACT's format will remain the same. This stability allows you to focus your preparation without the worry of adapting to new changes, making the ACT an attractive option for many.

3. More Straightforward Reading Passages

If you find the SAT's complex historical passages daunting, you might prefer the ACT's reading section. With shorter passages often written in modern language, the ACT can feel more user-friendly and less draining.

4. Comfortable Test Progression

The layout of the ACT, beginning with the English section and followed by math, reading, and science, provides a smoother start. Compared to the SAT's reading-first approach, which some students find exhausting, the ACT's progression could make the testing experience more comfortable.

5. International Students' Success

Data suggests that international students often perform better on the ACT, possibly due to its straightforward English and questions. Even though the ACT might be offered in fewer locations internationally, it's worth considering if it's available near you.

6. Math Matters Less

If math isn't your strength, the ACT might be more suitable, as math only accounts for one quarter of your composite score. Plus, calculators are allowed throughout the math section, and the problems are generally more straightforward than the SAT's.

7. Applying Your SAT Preparation

Much of the preparation you've done for the SAT will be applicable to the ACT. With overlap in areas like algebra, geometry, grammar, and reading strategies, you'll only need to focus on the ACT's specific areas, such as the science section.

8. The Traditional Paper Test

For those who prefer the tactile experience of a paper test, the ACT still offers this format. With the digital SAT starting in 2024, this feature could make the ACT more appealing for students uncomfortable with computer-based exams.

Conclusion: Think Critically About Your Options

Choosing between the SAT and ACT is like selecting your favorite ice cream without trying other flavors. You might be missing out on something that fits you better. If you feel like you've hit a wall with your SAT preparation, consider exploring the ACT. This alternative approach might garner you an extra 100-200 points without any additional studying, depending on your individual skills and preferences.

In the turbulent waters of college admissions, having more options can feel like a life jacket. The ACT might be just what you need to sail smoothly through the 2023-2024 school year. Whether you're an international student or simply looking for a more comfortable testing experience, don't overlook this valuable option. Your future might be brighter with the ACT!

Ready to try the ACT? Take this practice test:

ACT Practice Test 2022
Download PDF • 2.89MB

The higher scored test is the test you should focus your efforts on from here on out.

Happy Prepping!

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