Universitas Blog

The ACT

Sunday, February 09, 2014

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Most Filipino applicants to US colleges are unaware that there is an alternative to the dreaded SAT.  It's called the ACT.  Like the SAT, it is a college entrance test and is multiple choice with an optional writing component. The ACT is also administered in the Philippines at International School Manila in Taguig as well as test locations in Baguio and Cebu City.    Formerly known (back in my day) as the American College Test, the ACT is accepted by the overwhelming majority of US colleges as an alternative to the SAT.  I honestly cannot think of a school that doesn't accept scores for both SAT and ACT.  Note  that you don't have to take BOTH the SAT and the ACT but you can and submit the better score.

 

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Okay, the first thing I'm sure that comes to mind for most students is:  what's the difference between the two and of course, which is the easier one to take?  To answer the last question first, it depends on how your brain is wired.  The ACT is more of an achievement test, measuring what you have learned in school while the SAT is more an aptitude test, measuring critical verbal and mathematical reasoning.  So if you think you'll do better recalling what you've learned, then the ACT just might be your bag.  The ACT is also different in that it tests five different areas while the SAT only tests three.  The ACT tests English, reading, math (includes trig!), science and (optionally) writing (note that while writing is optional, some competitive colleges require that if you take the ACT, you do so with the writing component).  Unlike the 200-800 scale of the SATs, the ACT uses a score of 1 to 36 for each section along with an overall composite score of between 1 to 36. 

Presently, there is no hard evidence that students score consistently higher on one test or the other.  It really depends on the student.  My best advice is to try taking both.  One way to do is on the cheap is to go to Fully Booked and buy an ACT review book and take the full length test that is in the book.  Compare your score to your SAT score.  You may find you do significantly better...or worse...on the ACT than you do on the SAT.  This link will help you make that comparison. http://www.act.org/aap/concordance/estimate.html

I'm not really sure why the SAT is the overwhelming test of choice here in the Philippines.  The ACT is a valid alternative and it would behoove the wise US college applicant to give the ACT a shot.

 

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John Sy, President and Senior Counselor
Universitas College Counseling
203A CM Recto Street
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

johnsy@universitasph.com
+63 (917) 833-3825


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John Sy, President and Senior Counselor
Universitas College Counseling
203A CM Recto Street
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

johnsy@universitasph.com

+63 (917) 833-3825

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