Test Prep

5 Reasons to Take Both the SAT and ACT

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Most colleges require either the SAT or ACT and express no preference for either test. That said, significant percentages of students at selective colleges are submitting scores from both tests when they apply. Preparing for two major standardized tests may sound daunting, but there are some very good reasons to take both the SAT and ACT, and it's easier (and more affordable!) than ever before to prep for both tests.

1. Give More Information to the Admissions Committee


Princeton University's dean of admissions is on record as saying, “...more information is always better. If students choose one or the other, that’s fine, because both tests have value. But if they submit both, that generally gives us a little more information.”

And some of the most selective schools are reporting that as much as a quarter (or more!) of their enrolled students submitted scores for both exams. Check out the following list of schools, along with the percentage of students who submitted both ACT and SAT scores in the Fall of 2017:

- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 49 percent

- The University of Texas at Austin: 38 percent

- Stanford University: 28 percent

- University of Virginia: 26 percent

- MIT: 26 percent

- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor: 26 percent

- Cal Tech: 21 percent

- Harvard College: 20 percent

- Princeton University: 19 percent

- Yale University: 18 percent

- Brown University: 16 percent

2. Prep More Efficiently

You’re applying to competitive schools and crafting a stellar college application — which means you may end up wanting to take standardized tests more than once to earn your target scores. If you start by planning to take both tests, you’ll be able make an informed decision about which one best displays your strengths. You will not need to double your test prep time to take both the SAT and ACT.  

3. Increase Your Chances of Receiving Merit Aid

Even if you are applying to a college or university that does not require test scores for admission, ACT or SAT scores may be required to be considered for merit-based financial aid, and for any outside scholarship applications.

4. Take Fewer Tests (No, Really!)

Some schools require applicants to submit scores from the ACT...OR from the SAT plus two to three SAT Subject tests. If you plan to take the SAT, taking the ACT as well will cover you just in case something goes wrong on one of your SAT Subject tests.

5. You'll Have More Options

Considering both tests gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes to choosing test dates. At The Princeton Review, we know how to help you prep efficiently for both the ACT and SAT, and we have excellent options to help you prep for both cost-effectively.