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ACT or SAT? Determine YOUR Best Fit!

All colleges accept either the ACT or SAT with no preference to either test. On which test should a student focus?

Students should absolutely determine on which test they perform better in order to save time, energy and money on the testing part of the college bound journey.

Focus on the test of strength.

Simply put, using the slider on our concordance tool will show a student an equal score on the opposite test.

Let us guide you.

Pre Testing (PreACT, PSAT)

Schools often give these tests in the 9th and 10th grades to get a baseline score on the future ACT and SAT success. LEAP uses these scores (when available) to guide families on which test to take and how to prep. Families can request their Free Customized LEAP Testing Plan here to determine which test and when to test based on our vast experience since 1999.

Both of these tests are concorded (equalized) to the parent test. Meaning the PreACT translates to an ACT score. A perfect PreACT is 35 while a perfect ACT is a 36. The ACT is a more challenging test, thus the higher scale. If a student takes the PreACT and scores a 27 this then would be the same as predicting a 27 on a later ACT test.

PSAT and SAT are concorded in the same manner. Perfect PSAT is 1520 while a perfect SAT is 1600. Therefore, a score of 1170 on the PSAT is equal to later earning 1170 on the SAT.

Using our ACT to SAT score converter, the number you slide to (input) is therefore both an ACT/PreACT or SAT/PSAT. Click To Tweet

Using the Converter

If you have an ACT/PreACT score, use the slider to move to your score. For instance, if you slide to an ACT of 23, the equal SAT will be a range of 1130 to 1150 with 1140 being the midpoint. Start sliding and try it now! You can also see the full scale below.

Now do the same for the SAT/PSAT. Try sliding to a 1220 SAT to see that the equivalent ACT is 25.


Choosing ACT or SAT

For students who have both a PreACT (not all schools administer this) and PSAT, they can know in advance their highly likely test of strength.  This is a tremendous time-saver.

Here’s how this works with example scores.

  1. Assume the student has a PreACT score of a 22 and a PSAT score of 1210.
  2. Move the slider to ACT/PreACT 22. This shows an equal SAT/PSAT score of 1100 to 1120.
  3. In this case, the student has a PSAT score of 1210 which indicates the SAT is the stronger test and should be pursued for college admission and scholarships.
  4. If the student’s high school is giving the ACT for the state test, this would mean the student should be sure to take the SAT 1 to 2 times on his or her own.

You Don’t have Pre Testing Scores

If you don’t have a PreACT or PSAT, LEAP gives a FREE Diagnostic ACT every Saturday the ACT is given nationally. Students can register for our free baseline test to get a score to use in determining test strength. Register for an upcoming date here.

The majority of students will have a PSAT score to compare. If not, LEAP has a FREE PSAT test we can email you to take at home. Make your request here. Be sure to take this in a quiet location and timed.

Your Score is Not Exact

On any test, not just ACT or SAT, there is what’s known as the standard deviation of error. This means on any given day the tester could actually test within a range. Therefore ACT and SAT (as well as PreACT and PSAT) scores are a possible range of scores.

On the ACT the range is +/- 1 point. That means if a student tested at a 22 composite, their possible range is actually 21 to 23 composite. On the SAT due to the much larger scale, there is a larger range of +/- 40 points. Therefore a score of 1210 is equal to a range of 1170 to 1250.

This is important because this creates a “gray area” where which test to take is not clear cut. In these cases, LEAP will guide the student through other factors to determine which test to take. This can be done via requesting your Free Customized LEAP Testing Plan here. 

In our example, including the standard deviation, a 22 is actually a 21 – 23 ACT range. Therefore, the corresponding range for SAT is 1060 to 1150. In that range, there is no clear cut test. Thus, we will guide you. However, using our example student from above with a PSAT of 1210, the SAT is the clear choice of testing strength.

How are Tests Concorded?

ACT and SAT collaborated efforts to get us this data. It is new as of June 2108 and will likely now be widely used by colleges for admissions and scholarships as well as the NCAA for athletic eligibility.  The data can be trusted.

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