The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

Choosing which test to take


By Mackenzie Armstead| staff writer

Late nights, early mornings and never-ending cram sessions in between describes the typical student during SAT/ACT season. Students are preparing for the upcoming tests and, although most students are aware of the tests, some students still lack information about them.

Despite having a little bit of time to prepare for these college entrance exams, some students might not be entirely sure what areas these tests focus on, and/or the significance of these exams.

“I had no clue what the ACT was, but I felt like I understood what they were gonna test me on the SAT, I guess,” junior Marley Duggan said.

Counselor Cortney Tarbox helps explain the differences as well as the similarities between the SAT/ACT.

“The ACT is a college admissions exam and it’s based on high school curriculum and its accepted at all the same four year universities and colleges like the SAT would be,” Tarbox said. “The SAT is also a college admissions exam and most universities will have a standard requirement for it.”

Curriculum covered is another area where the tests differ.

“The difference between the ACT and the new SAT, which is the re-design and the only one that is available now since March 2016; both test in the areas of math, reading, and writing, including the optional essay,” Tarbox said.

According to Tarbox there are also distinct factors that separate the two tests with regards to scoring.

“The difference is the SAT integrates their science and social studies tech components where the ACT has a section, dedicates a section to science. Also, scores are now based both on the number of correct answers,” Tarbox said.

Students are able to gain necessary information through other resources than just their counselor. Students can go to, which is an organization that helps people prepare students for the SAT, and, which assesses students in various subjects for college readiness.

Not only does College Board and ACT Aspire help students in prepare for the SAT/ACT, they also allow students to see what they need score in order to go to the college(s) they are thinking about applying to.


“When they’re looking at applying for colleges at universities, they will have their admission criteria and label the ranges of scores students need to be considered for admissions,” Tarbox said.

Tarbox explains the benefits of taking both the SAT and the ACT and how they affect students by using resource to help determine what they need for the college of their choice.

“Students that take the ACT and the SAT, are utilized for college admissions. Basically the benefit is that students are able to complete their applications. We do find that some students may do better  on one or the other test, so we encourage students to do both [ACT and SAT].”

Applying for the SAT and the ACT is a fairly easy process. Students will need to sign up on certain dates to take the tests at designated locations.

“Students would need to register online They go to their College Board site for the SAT and then go to the ACT site and they do have standardized testing dates set for across the nation,” Tarbox said.“There are usually six to seven dates that are set for both the SAT and the ACT on Saturdays throughout the year. So, students just need to plan ahead and look at the calendar because they do need to register in advance for both tests.”



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Choosing which test to take