What are some key differences and similarities between the SAT and the ACT? Are they worded/structured much differently, and is either easier than the other? Also, what are good score ranges needed to get into a top 100, top 50, and top 20 national university? I haven't taken either yet, though I did take a PSAT last year (sophomore year) but that score wasn't fantastic and I took it before I took Algebra 2 or advanced English. This year I will be retaking the PSAT with more knowledge on the topics asked. My last PSAT score was a 1260, which isn't great but will definitely be improved. Is there any other advice anyone could give me concerning these standardized tests?
 

THEBACKANDFORTH

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Jun 5, 2017
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Don't worry about it, go to your much cheaper state school, and get easier A's. Afterall, most kids who start out pre-med never apply to med school because they can't get A's in the classes, and it'll be that much harder at a top tier school.
 

ill be a doc soon

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When I took the SAT it was out of 2400, and a good score for top 10 schools was 2250+, Top 25 was 2200+, Top 50 2000+, and so on. I guess aim for a 1400 on the SAT and a 32 on the ACT if you want to go to top 25 schools.
Im also assuming you have mostly As, are involved in community service, clubs, and sports too.

From my experience, the SAT is more of a critical reasoning test. Youll read a passage, and often the answer wont be in the passage, but "based on the passage, the author means blah blah blah". This is similar to the CARS section on the MCAT.
Math on the SAT is also very strange and somehow they found a way to confuse you as well.
Theres also a time constraint which sucks.
Personally, I didnt do to well on the SAT so maybe im biased.

The ACT was more objective. If you know math up to precalculus, writing sentences with proper grammar, etc, you can do well. The only problem is that this test has a bigger time constrain than the SAT. Like you have 45 seconds per question. The questions are simple as hell, but its more of a time pressure.

Take an ACT practice test and see how you do.
 

frosted2

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Jun 12, 2016
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From what I have noticed, the SAT seems to be more "west coast" and the ACT seems to be more "east coast." I think you should take a practice test of each and see which style you like more.
 
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