Though there are still important differences between the SAT and ACT, the two tests are now (as of the 2016-2017 changes to each) more similar than ever. This means that much of our preparation for the ACT will also apply to the SAT, and vice versa. For this reason, I recommend that students consider taking both tests, choosing one as the primary and the other as the secondary test.

If you adopt this strategy, your primary test is the one you'll focus your preparation on and take first. After that first real test, you'll shift your focus to preparing for your secondary test, which you'll take anywhere from one to two months after you've taken the first. After taking your secondary test for the first time as well, you'll have the option of further preparing for and taking either test again, depending upon your scores and goals.

The most effective way to choose which will be your primary test is to take one full-length diagnostic practice test each of the SAT and ACT, thereby establishing a baseline score for each test. Compare these baseline scores using the joint College Board/ACT concordance tables to determine whether one of your scores is notably stronger than the other. Your stronger score in most cases should become your primary test.

If your converted baseline scores are nearly equivalent, you can choose your primary test based on your comparative practice test experiences with the ACT and SAT, the test dates and academic calendar, and your own sense of which test might be easier for you to rigorously prepare for. If your baseline scores are radically different and/or your schedule demands it, you can of course choose to prepare for and take only the SAT or ACT but not both.

Click through to my SAT/ACT Training page for a detailed approach to preparing for the SAT and/or ACT.