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Test Prep: ACT/SAT


Students (and their parents) often ask me which college entrance exam (ACT/SAT) is the best test to take for college admission purposes, scholarships, college athletic eligibility, etc.


My answer: Take both both exams. The ACT and SAT have different test dates, and therefore, this gives students the opportunity to register and take both exams.


Be aware of the websites that offer ACT/SAT comparisons. Try to find an unbiased website that weighs the exams equally.


The Princeton Review offers a great info-graphic that compares the ACT and SAT. Check it out here.


College Board also offers a comparison chart, take into consideration: College Board is the maker of the SAT and could potentially have biased comparisons. Check it out here.


College Board recently re-designed the SAT, which was released in March 2016. One of the major positives of the SAT re-design is that the test-taker is no longer negatively* scored for incorrect answers. *Prior to the March 2016 SAT re-design, test-takers earned negative points for incorrectly answering a question.

Test Prep

The DNHS College and Career Center does not endorse a specific ACT and/or SAT prep course. Students can pick up a free study guide provided by the publishers of the exams. Local businesses and organizations do offer test-prep for a fee, some up to $600.


ACT offers free practice tools through the ACT Profile and additional study tools through the ACT website.

College Board, maker of the SAT, offers several free practice tools and has partnered the Khan Academy as the "Official SAT Practice."


The student is responsible to determine which test prep method works best for the student.

Official Score Reports

ACT/ SAT Official Score Reports are sent to the colleges and universities from ACT and College Board. The student test taker is responsible to select which colleges/universities the Official Score Reports to be sent to. Colleges and universities require Official Score Reports for admission purposes.


For example, ACT gives students 4 selections to send Official Score Reports. The 4 selections are included in the initial cost of registration (and with the fee waiver option).


Every SAT or SAT Subject Test registration covers 4 score reports, as long as you specify them by the date indicated on your Admission Ticket (usually nine days after your test date). If you are eligible for a fee waiver, however, you get 4 additional score reports to use at any time during high school.

ACT subject areas

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Optional: Writing

SAT subject areas

The SAT includes two sections comprised of three tests: Reading, Math, Writing & Language, plus an optional Essay.