Choosing between the new digital SAT and the ACT

Posted on 27th May 2022

Which Test? Update on the New Digital SAT vs ACT May 2022

Several years ago, we developed an accurate diagnostic test that predicts which standardised test for US university entrance (SAT or ACT) a student would perform best on. That diagnostic test is now used by most test takers in the UK, and many around the world!

But there is a problem: the SAT is changing.

From March 2023, the SAT will be a shorter, digital test . There aren't loads of details available yet, but this still poses a dilemma for students going into Year 12 (Grade 11): do they try and get it done early, by December, to avoid the change? Or do they wait until we know more? Or do they forget the SAT completely, and focus on the ACT?

Ordinarily, students who are very good at math tend to perform better on the SAT, while those who prefer reading are better suited to the ACT. But now, SAT students will have to be very good across the board if they want to stand a chance of getting their final score by December 2022, and avoid the need to learn a new format in March. (There are lots of test dates after that, but it is always best to start earlier!)

To simplify this difficult decision, we've created a handy flowchart below, which will help you decide what to do. But our advice is still very similar to what it has been previously:

  • If you're in Year 12 (Grade 11), start standardised test preparation ASAP, and get your testing done by September! (It is possible to do test up to December, but this is not ideal!)
  • If you're in Year 11 (Grade 10), seriously consider doing the ACT. If you decide you must do the SAT (maybe because there is only that option in your country), then start preparing early and consider taking the test 2-3 times by December 2022. If you can't commit to that, then start preparing anyway. Aim to take your first test in March 2023, and your last by May 2023. Although there are still some missing details about the digital SAT, it is better to start preparation now than to wait, as much of the content should remain similar.
  • If you're in Year 10 (Grade 9) or below, start preparing at the end of Year 11. You won't be affected by the change!

Note that this is the ideal timeline. Students can take the test up to December of their final year of school, but we don't recommend that!

We run courses and private tuition for both the SAT and the ACT, and also help guide students through the whole process . Not everyone needs to or should take tests, but that is a careful decision to make based on a range of factors.

As ever, early preparation is key. Speak to us about how we can help.

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