SAT vs. ACT: Standardized Test Expert Weighs In – Patch.com (Winnetka)

WINNETKA, IL — The SAT has replaced the ACT as the state accountability exam in Illinois, and April 5 marks the first time all students in public high schools will take the state-mandated exam.

For many students, the publicly subsidized test will be their only opportunity at a college entrance exam. However, some students will have to decide which is better for them and their own needs: the SAT or ACT.

To help families sort through the choices, Patch spoke with Matthew Pietrafetta, founder and CEO of Academic Approach, a company that works with students and schools to improve skills and test scores.

“It’s a big shock to the system because Illinois has been aligned with the ACT since 2001,” he said. “That’s a big deal to shift that.”

Pietrafetta’s company was involved in Michigan’s recent transition to SAT testing and has a contract with Chicago Public Schools to help prepare students and teachers for the new assessment.Subscribe

Even though all students will be sitting for the April 5 SAT exam, its result does not necessarily have to be submitted to admissions departments, he said.

“When you’re applying to college, you can just really focus in your application on highlighting the score that features you better,” Pietrafetta said.

But how do you do that? Ideally, through sample tests that let you figure out which test you score better and on which you feel more comfortable. 

Students and families asking about the tests differences can contrast the two using the following table:

What's the difference between the SAT and the ACT?
Table showing differences between SAT and ACT (Courtesy Academic Approach) 

“Students are not all the same, there is no average, so you could go to the same school and be getting the same GPA as the student sitting next to you, but that student may perform way better on one test or the other from you,” Pietrafetta said. “It doesn’t mean you’re the same, because it’s such a summative test. There’s so much curriculum, grammar, reading, math, science, so it could really impact you differently. You could have different strengths and different areas of opportunity.”

Those students especially skilled at taking standardized tests may benefit from taking the ACT, SAT and PSAT. 

But Pietrafetta has a warning for students who feel they can neglect the April 5 exam because they’ve already got the score they want:

The scores from the state-mandated SAT will still be attached to students’ final high school transcripts, even if some superintendents have elected not to attach them to transcripts until the spring of senior year after most college-bound students have already been admitted.

So, April 5 SAT scores will be part of the permanent academic records of all Illinois public high school juniors.

Read original article: https://patch.com/illinois/winnetka/sat-act-tips-offered-ahead-first-mandatory-state-exam

Matthew Pietrafetta

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