Would you wear an uncomfortable pair of shoes just because you got them for free?

Seems like an odd question for a test-prep and college planning newsletter, but follow my logic for a minute.

Many of the public schools in my area have arranged with College Board to give the SAT during the school day. This is a great way to promote college access and it allows College Board to sell tests in bulk, often paid for by school districts with grant money. Because the SAT is offered during the school day, I have neighbors asking about SAT prep.

My first response is usually, “Did you consider the ACT?”

Since the last round of major changes to the SAT in 2016, I have found the ACT to be the more coachable exam. It isn’t easier, but students tend to do better with the structure. Content is more straightforward and there is less high-level math involved. (Not to mention students can use calculators for the entire ACT math section which is all multiple-choice— unlike the SAT.)

But most of my neighbors hadn’t even considered the ACT.

I get it; Texas has historically been an SAT state and lots of people remember back to their high school days when some colleges only took one exam. But now all schools accept ACT and SAT with no preference given to one over the other.

Knowing all of this, why would you focus on the SAT simply because it is the exam you are getting at school? That’s like agreeing to walk around for two years in a pair of shoes just because they were free. Not a problem if they were the exact shoes you were looking for. But if you have the means to purchase your own pair, wouldn’t you want to get the ones with the best fit? The color and style to match your needs? In this analogy, the ACT may be the better fit for you. Shouldn’t you take a minute to try them both on and compare?

I’ve got released copies of both the SAT and ACT on my website if you need to “try on” for size: https://www.collegeprepresults.com/test-prep-resources/

I also have an 8-week ACT class starting this weekend to prepare students for the April ACT: https://www.collegeprepresults.com/sugar-land-prep-classes/register/