Sounds like a soap opera title, doesn’t it? In the lives of us test preppers, it might as well be a soap opera: the SAT has overtaken market share from the ACT for the first time since 2012. This reflects some interesting trends and factors but ultimately should not affect which test your child is taking. (See our chart below comparing the two tests.) What it reflects is that the SAT has been newly contracted in some states (Colorado and Illinois), where it may even be offered free during the school week (as opposed to the traditional pay to play on Saturday/Sunday testing). This has increased in a surge of the number of SAT test-takers. Who can blame them if it’s free and doesn’t conflict with Saturday sports?
It also may (and I say may because of the many recent controversies surrounding the College Board) reflect some successes with the 2016 “Redesign” of the SAT. The new SAT was designed to become somewhat more accessible to the “average” student through two outright changes: no vocabulary multiple choice and elimination of the guessing penalty aka points lost due to wrong answers. Khan Academy also partnered with the College Board to offer free online P/SAT preparation, and we must say, they’ve done a really nice job. Students can connect their PSAT and/or SAT results to Khan Academy and get personalized lesson recommendations. ACT tried to follow suit this year by launching the ACT Academy (also free and online), and it’s just not as robust as the College Board’s program. Just to show that imitation is indeed flattery: some of the ACT Academy lessons direct you to, well, Khan Academy.
Bottom line: both tests are equally accepted at American colleges and universities. If you’re unsure as to which test your child should take, sign them up for one of Ivy Ed’s Diagnostic tests and Complimentary Consultations. We’ll help you and your child evaluate which test may be better suited for them.