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SAT vs. ACT - Nicholas Marmalejo on Which Test for College? - - Nicholas Marmalejo

SAT vs. ACT – Nicholas Marmalejo on Which Test for College?


As students prepare for college, Counselor Nick Marmalejo answers “What tests should I take in preparation for college?” and “When should I take them?”

For many of us, the word “test” evokes numerous emotions, everything from excitement to all-out dread.

Because of this, the great tests of our lives, whether personal or academic, stand out starkly in our memory. Yet regardless of our feelings about testing, or the worth of a particular exam, much stock is placed upon them by the great multitude, so it is worthwhile to discuss the real import of exams for the homeschooling student aspiring to college.

As students prepare for life after Seton, some common questions that we receive in the Guidance Department are, “What tests should I take in preparation for college?” and “When should I take them?”

At a minimum, we recommend that students take both the SAT and the ACT, sometime in their junior year. If time is an issue (When is it not?), we recommend consulting the admissions office of the particular college to which one may be applying. While many accept both test scores, some schools prefer one over the other.

Furthermore, students sometimes simply do better on one of the two and choose to submit only that score in their application process.

In an ideal situation, a student should prepare for these tests by studying or attending a class on ‘cracking their code’ early, as these tests can be taken more than one time. In many instances, a standardized test does not simply test what one knows, but also how one knows a thing or how one is able to work through a specific problem in a timely manner.

Learning the thought process behind the questions that designed the exam, or specific ways the tests want you to think in answering a question, can go a long way to boost one’s score.

To take the SAT and find out more about the exam, please visit, the institution responsible for developing and grading the exam. For the ACT, visit the ACT website, Consult your library, school district, or local college for further information on taking local classes to prepare for the exam.

Additionally, many brick and mortar schools also offer the PSAT, (or Pre-SAT), which gives the student an opportunity to earn a National Merit Scholarship.

However, in order to sit for this exam, a homeschooling student will have to ask permission from the specific institution that administers the test.

Seton offers resources through its Educational Media department to help study for the SAT and PSAT, which include practice tests.

As always, if you have further questions about taking these tests, please don’t hesitate to call the Seton Guidance Department at 540-636-2238.

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