The ACT is becoming more popular for international students. It’s not all that different from the SAT, except for the fact that it features a Science section along with its English, Reading, Math, and optional essay sections. So what are some of the pros and cons of the ACT for international students?
Pros of the ACT for International Students
The ACT has always been known for its straightforward wording. Its questions don’t seem set out to trick you; instead, they’re relatively clear. This characteristic is useful for international students, who won’t have to do double the work to figure out what a question is even asking for in the first place.
Another potentially attractive feature is its Science section. This doesn’t require you to have a ton of specific scientific knowledge; instead, it’s more concerned with testing your scientific skills, like analyzing data and evaluating a hypothesis. Some international students find they do better on this section than Reading and English, so its inclusion makes it a good reason to choose this exam over the SAT.
Another feature, which may be a pro or a con depending on your math level, is its incorporation of higher level math concepts. Its math questions feature more geometry and trigonometry than the SAT, and you can use a calculator on all of them. If you’re strong in math and science and/or considering going into a STEM field, you might demonstrate your skills and interests best by taking the ACT.
Cons of the ACT for International Students
As mentioned above, the ACT features more advanced math, as well as a science section. If you’re less strong in these areas, then they may be a reason not to take this exam. Depending on your academic preparation and skills, these sections may be a major determining factor in whether you can do better on the SAT instead.
Another potential con is simply its lack of popularity internationally. You may have grown up learning a lot more about the SAT, and you might be able to form study groups with friends who are taking the SAT. If few people around you are taking the ACT, then you might not have the same study and support network that you would for the SAT.
Like the SAT, the ACT has a large emphasis on reading comprehension and evaluating structure and syntax of passages. The verbal section is worth half your score, so you’ll want to try both SAT and ACT verbal sections (Reading and Writing for the SAT, Reading and English for the ACT) to see which one is more appealing to you.
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