Good news! All colleges accept both the ACT and SAT tests without preference being given to one over the other. Some schools are even test optional. So how does a student determine which test to invest in?

Consider PRE-Test Scores

Up until April 2014, the pre-ACT was called the PLAN test. It was based on a 32 point scale. This scale allowed easy conversion to predictive ACT scores by adding 3-4 points to a PLAN composite. These predictive scores are also listed on your PLAN score report. For students graduating in 2016 or earlier, they are operating off PLAN scores for pre-ACT testing.

Graduates of the class 2017 and above will take ACT Aspire Early High School in 9th and/or 10th grades in either the fall or spring. While there still is not significant data for conversion due to the test being in it’s infancy, ACT Aspire results will have a predictive ACT Score.

Converting PSAT results to SAT is a simpler process by adding a zero to the end of the score. PSAT scores are currently based on a scale of 60 to 240 while SAT scores are 600 to 2400 (for now).


Many years ago, ACT and SAT engaged an independent agency to create a concordance chart between the two tests as they now exist through spring 2016. By inserting a students predictive scores into the chart, one should have a good indication on test of strength and therefore the test to focus on for college entrance testing.

Another way to do this is compare national percentile scores given on PLAN/Aspire and PSAT scores. Whichever is stronger would indicate your test of preference.

Some schools did not administer PLAN or are not utilizing Aspire. Virtually all high schools nationally give the PSAT in 11th grade (as it is the litmus test for National Merit Scholarship qualification) and many test their sophomores as well or give students the option to take it in 10th grade. What should a student do who does not have PLAN/Aspire scores and/or won’t take the PSAT until October of their 11th grade year?

LEAP’s test prep experience since 1999 indicates more of our students do better on the ACT than SAT. Thus our advice is to take the ACT then compare the ACT results to PSAT results to determine if the student should also attempt the SAT. Remember, you’ll convert the PSAT results which come in December of the junior year to a SAT score then plug that number and the ACT Composite score into the concordance chart. Also consider national percentile scores.

No Clear Preference?

Hopefully, you’ll have a clear answer of testing preference. For some students there won’t be a clear answer due to pre-testing resulting in similar scores. For these students, we suggest they take both the ACT and SAT one time then retest on the higher test. It’s vital to plan a second attempt as 57% of all students increase their scores on both the ACT and SAT.

Want to Learn More?

LEAP’s FREE ACT-SAT Essentials Seminar for Fall 2014 is October 15th at 7 pm in #Cincinnati. Register on our website! Outside Cincinnati? We often offer this via Webinar, so email us ( and you’ll be notified in the future of this event.