ACT vs. SAT scores





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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: ACT vs. SAT scores
By California (California) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 12:13 am: Edit

People at my school have been getting their SAT and ACT scores back this week, and so far everyone I've talked to scored higher on the ACT, (when converted to the SAT) than they did on the SAT. So, I'm wondering, is this common? At other schools is it the other way around? If it isn't, then how accurate is the ACT to SAT conversion?

Also, what do colleges think when they look at the scores? Would an admissions officer rather see a 1500 are a 34? A 1400 or a 32? Do ACTs factor in to News Week rankings?

Just some random thoughts. Thanks to anyone who replies!

By Holdenesquealex (Holdenesquealex) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 04:20 pm: Edit

At my school I happened to be the only person who took the SAT, and I did better on that than the ACT. I don't think the conversion can really be accurate, because the tests cater to different types of intelligence. Some people do better on the ACT, some on the ACT..

By Rowan (Rowan) on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 11:44 pm: Edit

I, personally, did tons better on the ACT with a 32 ACT composite versus 1280 SAT I (and something like 1160 PSAT -- oops). There is usually a marked difference between those who are good at taking tests and those who aren't when they take the two and compare.

My working theory is that good students (decent retention of information, grasp of common concepts, strong grasp on English) will ultimately score better on the ACT whereas good test takers will do better on the SAT I and possibly the ACT as well, though it isn't as likely. There are, of course, overlap and exceptions.

... Talk about rambling. Oi.

By Drusba (Drusba) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 07:04 pm: Edit

The real question is whether there is any real comparison between an ACT score and an SAT score. Colleges and everyone else have access to the so-called SAT/ACT conversion tables. The problem is no one knows whether those conversions are in any way accurate and no one has apparently every bothered to determine whether they are (and despite that admissions bureaucrats who apparently are a little short on the ability to think rely on them). In fact, it is highly likely that the conversion tables are wrong. For example, the conversion tables all state that a 31 ACT is equivalent to about a 1380 SAT. However, a 31 ACT is at the 98 percentile of all ACT test takers and a 1380 SAT is the 95 percentile. Thus, if you go by percentile rank in relation to other test takers a 31 ACT is substantially better than a 1380 SAT; the 98 percentile for the SAT is 1460 and thus a 31 ACT should be equivalent to that rather than 1380. When you use percentile rank to make the comparisons virtually all the ACT scores are undervalued in comparison to the so-called equivalent SAT scores. Bottom line: don't rely on the conversion tables to determine whether you have done better in one test than another.

By Andrew (Andrew) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 08:24 pm: Edit

I personally did about the same on the ACT as the SAT equivalent, 32 and 1430 but I don't really think there is a coorelation at all. The two tests were a lot different both in style, types of questions, and scoring so I don't see how they could compare them. That's my own opinion I guess.

By Dori (Dori) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 01:10 am: Edit

i did better on the SAT

SAT (retaking in june) 1380
ACT 30 (~1340 according to charts)

i retook the ACT and did worse :( (29) but i didn't prep until the night before, so it's my own fault.


i'm generally a pretty good test taker in all forms.


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