To be or not to be? ACT or SAT? Most colleges accept both the ACT and the SAT, but choosing the test that complements your strengths can boost your admission chances. There are still common misconceptions between the ACT and the SAT, and it can be difficult to decide which to take, so here are some helpful tips that compare both tests and might help you decide which is right for you:
The SAT contains three major sections: reading, writing, and math and is allotted 3 hours and 50 minutes, with 170 questions.
The ACT contains one extra science section than the SAT: reading, math, English and science, and is allotted less time than the SAT with 3 hours and 35 minutes, but more questions with 215 questions.
Both have an optional essay and no guessing penalty.
The SAT focuses on critical thinking and problem solving. Math requires a lot of data analysis and modeling. If you lean more towards algebra, the SAT can be a better choice for you. Regarding language, there are more vocabulary and writing style related questions, requiring the support and citing of evidence (giving specific lines in the passage). The questions are purposely designed to be tricky and confuse the reader, as they are more evidence and context-based.
The ACT is more focused on language content and writing skills (grammar, punctuation etc). The ACT tests a wider range of mathematical concepts without providing any formulas, which can include geometry, logarithms, graphing of trigonometric functions and matrices. In addition, the scientific terminology can be one of the most challenging parts of the ACT. It’s not much about the actual knowledge, but using scientific language and scientific terminology, and applying them to graphs and charts. Although this all may seem much more intimidating, the ACT contains more straightforward, clear questions, which may be longer but can be less difficult to decipher.
Which will you choose?