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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Tannenbaum

ACT vs New SAT: Which One Should My Child Take?



It’s important to keep in mind that the ACT and the DSAT have numerous significant similarities and numerous significant differences. In terms of similarities, both of these tests allow the use of a calculator on any math question, contain no guessing penalty, do not require a student to complete an essay, and test students on math and grammatical content that often overlaps with what’s found on the other test. As far as key differences, the ACT is non-digital and non-adaptive, students have less time per question on the ACT, the ACT is about 40 minutes longer, the reading passages are shorter on the SAT, and the questions on the ACT are easier to predict.


In terms of deciding which test your child should prepare for, the only way to truly establish whether a student should prepare for the ACT or the DSAT includes the student taking an official full-length practice test for each exam and - very importantly - taking their diagnostic tests right before they begin their test preparation, in order to make a decision based on up-to-date data. If a family comes to us in, say, the spring, wanting their child at that point to begin ACT or DSAT prep, and their child took a PSAT or pre-ACT in October, those results from the fall are not current enough to be reliable in terms of figuring out which test to focus on.


Want to schedule an ACT and/or DSAT diagnostic test? Contact us to set up diagnostic testing at your convenience.

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