The ACT and the SAT are standardized tests widely used for college admissions in the United States.
However, there are some key differences between the two tests. In this blog post, we will compare the ACT and the SAT to help you decide which test is right for you - words of wisdom from a SAT Tutor in the business for the past three decades : )
Key Differences Between the ACT and new Digital SAT
The ACT is a paper-and-pencil test, while the SAT is a computer-adaptive test (CAT), which means that the difficulty of the questions on the SAT will adjust based on the student's performance on the previous questions.
The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long, while the SAT is 2 hours and 14 minutes long. This makes the SAT about 40 minutes shorter than the ACT.
Both the ACT and the SAT cover math, reading, and writing. However, the ACT also includes a science section, while the SAT does not.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, while the SAT is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600.
Other Critical Differences
Here are some other differences between the ACT and the SAT:
The ACT has a faster pace than the SAT. Students on the ACT have about 50 seconds per question, while students on the SAT have about 65 seconds per question.
The ACT reading section has longer passages with more questions, while the SAT reading section has shorter passages with fewer questions.
The ACT math section has a broader range of difficulty levels than the SAT math section.
The SAT allows students to use calculators in the entire math section, while the ACT only allows students to use calculators in the second half of the math section.
The SAT offers an optional essay, while the ACT essay is required.
Which test should you take?
The best test for you depends on your strengths and weaknesses. If you are a strong test-taker who can work quickly under pressure, you may prefer the ACT. If you need more time per question and prefer shorter passages, choose the SAT.
It is also essential to consider the requirements of the colleges and universities you are interested in attending. Some colleges only require one test, while others require both. If you are still unsure which test to take, it is a good idea to practice both tests and see which one you perform better on. You can also ask your school counselor or a test prep expert for advice.
Additional sections for students and parents
How to prepare for the ACT and the SAT
Many resources are available to help you prepare for the ACT and the SAT. You can find test prep books, online courses, and tutoring services. You should also start preparing early and give yourself plenty of time to study.
Tips for taking the ACT and the SAT
Here are some suggestions for taking the ACT and the SAT:
Get a good night's sleep before the test.
Eat a healthy breakfast on the day of the test.
Arrive at the test center early so that you have time to relax and focus.
Read the instructions carefully before each section of the test.
Pace yourself, and don't spend too much time on any one question.
If you don't know the answer to a question, mark it for review and come back to it later.
Check your work carefully before submitting the test.
What to do after you take the ACT and the SAT
After you take the ACT and the SAT, you must send your scores to the colleges and universities you are interested in attending. You can do this through the ACT website or the SAT website. Consider taking the ACT and the SAT multiple times. If you are unsatisfied with your score on one test, you can take the other test or retake the same test.
The ACT and the SAT are both important tests for college admissions. The two tests have some critical differences, so choosing the best fit for you is crucial. Consider your individual strengths and weaknesses, the requirements of the colleges and universities you are interested in attending, and your test-taking style.
Many resources are available to help you prepare for the ACT and the SAT. Start preparing early and give yourself plenty of time to study. On the test day, get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive at the test center early. Pace yourself, don't panic, and check your work carefully before submitting the test.