If you are planning to apply to university in the United States, or a number of other English-language programs, such as the bachelor’s program in international business at Bocconi–you will almost certainly need to take the SAT or ACT exam.

But how do you choose? Which one is right for you: the SAT or ACT?


You could spend hours on the internet researching the differences between the two exam. You could ask everyone you know who has taken the tests recently. You could begin your obsessive dedication to College Confidential.

Athena Advises

marlena-corcoran-20160728_0647-ar-retouchlinkedinOr you could take two practice tests: one SAT and one ACT. You can find free practice material online, or you can purchase paperback books with actual (now retired) examinations from previous years.

Tip 1: Be sure to use actual retired exams from the College Entrance Examination Board (SAT) or the American College Testing Service (ACT). That way, you can be sure that the practice tests correspond to the real test you will take!

Tip 2: Be sure your practice tests are up to date! The SAT has undergone extensive revisions lately.

Tip 3: Allocate the necessary time to the test straight through (taking breaks as indicated). One of our students told me she is now starting early in the morning, at the hour when the real test begins! No more lounging around in the afternoon!

Tip 4: Take a practice tests on the weekend or on a holiday. Don’t take the tests after school, when you’ll be tired. And don’t take them both on the same day!

Tip 5: Us a timer! When the time for a section is over–stop! Do not give yourself an extra few minutes because you’re sure you know the answers to the final questions!

To compare your scores, convert your score on each test to a percentile score, using charts you can find on the internet. Did you do markedly better on one test than on the other?

Also ask yourself which test you’d rather spend a whole lot of time studying for in the coming months.

Is it a close call, or even a tie? Stay tuned for our next newsletter, which will provide you with some tie-breaking information to help you decide.

Wishing you perfect scores,

Dr. Marlena Corcoran
Founder and CEO