NCSSM CEEB Code: 341077
SAT Site Code: 34294
ACT Site Code: 228150
SAT vs. ACT
Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. So which should you take?
It's all about the numbers. Some students end up scoring substantially higher on the SAT; others do better on the ACT. In lieu of a crystal ball, we created The Princeton Review StartUp designed to help you explore both tests.
To help you zero in on the right test, here are seven key features of the ACT and the New SAT:
1. ACT questions tend to be more straightforward.
On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem.
2. The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
If you're an ardent wordsmith, you'll love the SAT. If words aren't your thing, you may do better on the ACT
3. The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not.
The ACT science section is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a set of data or conflicting viewpoints. But if you're a true science-phobe, the SAT might be a better fit.
4. Both tests now have the same advanced math concepts.
You can expect questions in arithmetic, algebra I & II, geometry and trigonometry.
5. Both essays are optional.
You have 50 minutes to complete the essay on the SAT and 40 minutes to complete it on the ACT.
6. Although both essays are optional...
The SAT essay is more comprehension focused while the ACT wants to see how well you can evaluate and take a position on complex issues.
7. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36 and the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.
Three points on the SAT isn’t a big deal, but three points on the ACT could be the difference between your target school and your dream school.
When to Take SAT/ACT
- Check the SAT/ACT requirements and/or suggestions made by the schools to which you may apply.
- Check the average SAT/ACT scores of admitted students for the schools to which you may apply.
- Prepare for the SAT/ACT by using Test Prep in Naviance and Khan Academy. https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
- As a junior, you may need to take the SAT and ACT once during your junior year, to see on which test you perform better.
- Typically the spring of their junior year is a good time to take the SAT or ACT. (If you are satisfied with a score on the SAT or ACT, you may not need to take the other test.)
- The great thing about NCSSM letting out in the last weekend in May is that students can take either or both tests in June. Then they will have all final exams and any AP exams completed and can turn their focus to those tests.
- As a junior, you may need to take Subject Tests to be ready for early applications during your senior year. If so, take the tests as near to the completion of the class of the Subject Test's content as possible. May or June are usually the best times. If they do, most colleges prefer that you take the Math Level 2 in addition to whatever subject you are most knowledgeable about.
- As a senior, if you have taken the Subject Tests and are pleased with your Subject Tests scores, then you are fine.
- As a senior, if you need to take the Subject Tests, then be sure to do so to meet your application deadlines.
- As a senior, if you want better scores than those from your junior year tests, then register for the tests that you need, making sure to have a plan that meets your applications deadlines.
- If you think that you would like to test again, both the SAT/ACT will be offered again in August, another good time to take the tests after a summer full of preparation ;-) The SAT October test date is typically the last date colleges will accept if you are applying for Early Action or Early Decision.
- Check the median scores of the colleges to which you plan to apply to see if your scores fall within the range. You can find this information on Naviance or the colleges’ admissions websites.
Prepare for SAT/ACT
- Use Naviance Test Prep and/or Khan Academy to prepare for the tests.
Register to take SAT/ACT
- Register to take SAT and/or ACT. You can find the registration dates here:
SAT/SAT Subject Tests:
How to Send Scores
Most colleges require applicants to send them official score reports directly from the College Board — they do not accept copies of online score reports or score report labels on transcripts. You can ask College Board to send score reports to colleges before or after test day.
Before Test Day
You can send four free score reports to colleges every time you register for the SAT. This is the fastest way to send scores to colleges and scholarship programs — and there’s no fee. Many colleges view receiving your scores early as a demonstration of your interest.
After Test Day
Score Delivery Timeline
The timeframe for score delivery depends on the way a college chooses to receive scores. Once colleges receive your scores, processing could take a week.
Score Sending Options
Use Score Choice™ to choose which scores you send to colleges.
Sign in to switch score recipients if you changed your mind about which colleges you want to send score reports to.
While ACT automatically sends your scores from the ACT® test to the places you requested when you registered, you can have your ACT scores sent to other colleges and scholarship agencies, even after you test. Requests are processed after your tests have been scored and all scores for your test option—the ACT or the ACT with writing—are ready.
When ordering online, you can choose between a regular report and a priority report. Priority reports can only be sent within the United States. Phone requests are only available as priority reports.
Processed within one week after your request is received, ACT delivers regular reports to colleges and agencies you've selected depending on their preferred schedule—at least every two weeks.
Fees (effective through 8/31/2017)
Tested after 9/1/2014
$12.00 per test date per report
Priority report (only to locations within the US)
Processed within two working days after your request, priority reports are usually delivered three to four business days later.
$16.50 per test date per report