ACT or SAT: What’s the Difference?
- April 19, 2016
- Posted by: email@example.com
- Category: Test Prep
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Depending on what college you want to attend, a certain ACT or SAT score will be required to get in. Every college and university accepts both tests and treats them equally, so it’s up to you to decide which one is better for you.
It’s recommended to take both a practice SAT and a practice ACT to see how you score on each and how you feel on each. Alternatively, you can take our Diagnostic Test and have us provide you with analysis and recommendations. Here are the main things you should know to compare the exams.
SAT Format and Scoring
The SAT is made up of 4 sections and an optional essay. The sections are Evidence-Based Reading, Evidence-Based Writing and Language, Math – No Calculator, and Math – Calculator.
The test is 3 hours long without the essay, and 3 hours and 50 minutes long if you do choose to do the optional essay. The reading portion consists of 5 reading passages, and the math sections cover Arithmetic, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Data Analysis.
The SAT is scored on a scale of 400–1600.
You can take the SAT in March, May, June, August, October, November, or December.
ACT Format and Scoring
The ACT is made up of 4 sections and an optional essay. The sections are English, Math, Reading, and Science.
The test is 2 hours and 55 minutes long without the essay, and 3 hours and 40 minutes with the essay. There are 4 reading passages in the reading section, and the math section covers Arithmetic, Algebra I & II, Geometry, and Trigonometry. The science section tests critical thinking skills, not specific science knowledge. You can also use a calculator on all of the math questions.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1–36.
You can take the ACT in February, April, June, July, September, October, or December.
ACT or SAT?
You might prefer taking the ACT if you’re a naturally quick reader and test-taker, are intimidated by doing math without a calculator, prefer that different topics be tested in different sections, or if you like science and data analysis.
The SAT may be the better option for you if you don’t perform too well under time restraints, if you struggle with geometry (ACT has over three times as many geometry questions as the SAT), or if you dislike or struggle with science and data analysis.
There are two major factors we consider when programming the ACT or SAT for students: time and Math.
The ACT is a notoriously fast test, so if you’re a slow test-taker, it will likely feel uncomfortable. The SAT gives you about 50% more time per question, but the questions generally take longer to process. If your analysis skills are strong but speed is weak, the SAT may be for you.
The two SAT Math sections make up half of the composite score. The one ACT Math section makes up a quarter of the composite score. If standardized-test Math is your forte, maximize that strength by taking the SAT! If standardized-test Math isn’t your jam, you can cover that weakness by taking the ACT, since you have three other sections affecting your score.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”Get Personalized Advice” h4=”FREE!” txt_align=”center” shape=”round” style=”outline” color=”pink” el_width=”md” add_button=”right” btn_title=”SCHEDULE NOW” btn_style=”3d” btn_color=”danger” btn_size=”lg” btn_i_align=”right” btn_i_icon_fontawesome=”fa-icon-stm_icon_teacher” btn_add_icon=”true” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mjprep.com%2Fschedule-free-consultation%2F|||”]We’ll break down your own strengths and weaknesses to help you make the right choice.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]