Why Do My ACT Scores Fluctuate So Much?

Recently I received an inquiry about test preparation from a parent who said her daughter (not a student of mine) had scored a 32 composite the previous fall on the ACT. She was frustrated because the science sub score was only a 29, yet she had been scoring as high as a 36 in practice. Part of her problem on the real test was timing.


SAT vs. ACT – Which test is right for you?

Now that it’s prime time to start studying for the SAT and ACT, we’ve had a lot of students ask us which test they should take.

Nowadays, most colleges accept the SAT and ACT and weigh scores from both tests equally, so that’s no longer a reason to take one test over the other.

The College Board recently redesigned the SAT and it is now quite similar to the ACT. Both tests now have optional essays and no guessing penalty. The SAT also no longer has a “random vocabulary” section, which used to be a deal breaker for a lot of our students. Instead, the SAT has a vocabulary in-context section. The SAT also has less geometry than the ACT.  We’ve covered the all differences in a handy graphic below. (more…)


New! Virtual Fireside Chat with Dr. Sybil Gohari, Founder of Admissions Company

Join Dr. Sybil Gohari, founder of Admissions Company, for a virtual Fireside Chat on College Admissions on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 at 7 pm. This event is sponsored by Kate Dalby, owner of Inspiring Test Preparation. Contact Dr. Gohari directly to sign up at info@admissions.company. Seating is limited.

Dr. Gohari brings over a decade of experience as an educator and entrepreneur; she spends her time at the intersection of academia and technology. She has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park; American University; George Washington University; and Georgetown University.

She founded Admissions Company to harness the proprietary method rooted in data and analytics, to not only help students significantly increase their chances of gaining admission to competitive schools but to determine the optimal schools for their individual needs and interests. Admissions Company complements its use of big data with a deep reservoir of expertise to guide students from an early point in the admissions process.

Dr. Gohari graduated from the American University Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Art History, where she was also a division I lacrosse player. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.


ACT/SAT Reveal Concordance Table

SAT vs. ACT – The classic battle between the two giants of standardized testing has long since been a concern for any student making their foray into preparation for college. After years of conflict, the SAT redesigned its test in 2015 to make it more similar to the ACT’s model. Despite this, ACT did not allow convergence from the new SAT due to the lack of data.

College Board developed and posted a concordance when it first released its latest SAT, but ACT objected to the unilateral effort because ACT believed there was insufficient data to draw conclusions. After two plus years of data on the new SAT, the ACT organization has decided that it has been long enough, and an ACT/SAT concordance table has been published on the ACT website. You can find the link here. This means that there is now an official ACT/SAT way to compare the two standardized tests. The table below shows a sample of the data in the convergence tables.

Note: For the sake of brevity, only ACT Scores from 26-36 will be shown. For information such as other scores and subject-specific convergence tables, please view the full document here.

SAT Total Range ACT Composite
1600-1570 36
1570-1530 35
1520-1490 34
1480-1450 33
1440-1420 32
1410-1390 31
1380-1360 30
1350-1330 29
1320-1300 28
1290-1260 27
1250-1230 26
In effect, this joint effort by the ACT and the SAT reduces the stress placed on the student by making them choose between the two tests. To all the folks at the ACT and the SAT, well done.