Should international students take the ACT?

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The resources available to you

It's true that, unlike many American students, you may not have access to resources such as the PreACT, or a version of the ACT given to younger students. Furthermore, you'll be more limited by the ACT test dates available in your region (but note that SAT test dates are also more limited abroad). However, those are the two big limitations, and they apply just as much to the SAT as to the ACT.

Even just a few years ago, international students were put at a disadvantage when taking American college admissions tests because good prep options weren't available abroad: a lot of American students took classes or studied with books that could only be found in the U.S. However, today, tutors and classes are available around the world, and great Internet resources - many of them free - exist to help students from every country do the best that they can on the ACT and SAT, giving them a leg up in the admissions process.

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Takeaway

At the end of the day, consider your options carefully when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT. You probably will have to take one or the other, though! Admissions offices appreciate seeing IB results, as well as those from similar tests, but usually still require a standardised American admissions test, as well as an English test (TOEFL or IELTS are the most popular).

 

A final word of advice

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Take your English test before your ACT or SAT so that you can sharpen your English skills well in advance of the exam.
That way, you can focus on mastering the test format so you can show off your skills to their best advantage when test day finally rolls around.

 

Special thanks to Rachel Kapelke-Dale for providing us with this article. Rachel is a test prep expert at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She has taught test preparation and consulted on admissions practices for over eight years.

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