SAT versus ACT
Many American universities will require the submission of SAT or ACT scores as part of their bachelor’s program admissions criteria. Make sure to check the website of your university to make sure whether you are required to take the SAT or ACT. Many competitive schools also require you to complete the optional essay part of the exams. Keep this in mind when registering for the exam. Many students take the exam twice. If possible, take the exam once in spring and once in early fall of your final year. You can take the test more often, although two attempts will usually offer a clear indication of your score capacities.
You only need to take one test. Which test you take depends on your personal preference. Please note that the SAT has been revised in March 2016 to be more similar to the ACT, although some notable differences remain: ACT offers a science component while the SAT does not. There is also a distinct difference in the amount of questions (SAT: 154, ACT: 215) and the time you receive to answer them (SAT: 1 minute and 10 seconds per question, ACT: 49 seconds per question). Due to the higher total of questions on the ACT you will have to work faster, although the exam is more forgiving as a result.
Students taking the N&G or N&T school profile often prefer the ACT, while C&M and E&M students gravitate towards the SAT. You can take free sample tests on each exam’s website to find out which version plays to your strengths.
The ACT is a multiple choice test and takes two hours and 55 minutes to complete. The optional essay part takes another 40 minutes to complete. The exam consists of four parts: English, Mathematics, reading, and science. Your score will be calculated on a scale from 1 – 36. You can find more information about the required scores on your university’s website.
You can take the ACT five times a year in the Netherlands: in early February, mid-April, early June, early September, the end of October, and early December. You can find more information at the ACT. Keep in mind that you have to complete your registration five to six weeks prior to your desired test date. The test will cost $80 to $95, depending on the essay component.
You can directly forward your exam score to up to four universities for free, or have them sent at a later date for a small fee. Universities will only accept the official score reports that were sent directly to them.
The SAT is a multiple choice test, taking three hours to complete. The optional essay part takes an additional 50 minutes to complete. The text consists of three parts: reading, writing and language skills, and math. Your score will be calculated on a scale from 400 and 1600. You can find more information about the required scores on your university’s website.
You can take the SAT several times a year in the Netherlands: usually the first Saturday of March, May, October, and December. Check Collegeboard for more information about these dates. Keep in mind that you need to have completed your registration four weeks prior to your desired test date. You can register online through Collegeboard. The test will cost $80 to $95, depending on the essay component.
You can directly forward your score to up to four universities for free, or have them sent at a later date for a small fee. Universities will only accept the official score reports that were sent directly to them.
You can download practice material at Collegeboard. Khan Academy offers a free online preparatory course.
SAT Subject Tests
Some universities also require (usually two) subject test results alongside your SAT or ACT scores. Make sure to see whether these tests are essential for admission at your university, and if so, whether this requirement also applies to international students. Several schools make an exception for non-US applicants. Keep in mind that you cannot take the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests simultaneously, so make sure to plan your examination dates accordingly.
The Subject Test is a multiple choice exam that takes an hour to complete. You can take up to three Subject Tests per test day. You can use the Collegeboard website to help you decide which tests to take. You can find information about the requirements to be eligible to take the tests, such as the total amount of class hours per subject required in order to successfully complete a Subject Test, and which topics are discussed in the test. You can also look at the example questions to get a better idea of what to expect.
The available Subject Tests are:
- English literature
- US History
- World history
- Mathematics level 1 and 2
- Chinese (reading and listening)
- French (reading)
- French (reading and listening)
- German (reading)
- German (reading and listening)
- Modern Hebrew (reading)
- Italian (reading)
- Japanese (reading and listening)
- Korean (reading and listening)
- Latin (reading)
- Spanish (reading)
- Spanish (reading and listening)
You can find practice material at Collegeboard and Khan Academy.