Differences Between the SAT and ACT: Which is Right For You?
Are you on track to graduate from high school with good grades? If you’re getting ready to apply to colleges to pursue your higher education, you need to complete any tests and activities that your top schools might require for admittance. The SAT, a widely accepted exam for college admission, should take you smoothly through the transition to college. But there is another standardized admissions exam, the ACT, which is an alternative to the SAT.
Many colleges today accept the scores of both of these entrance exams. How should you decide which test to take? Well, here’s a guide pointing out the differences that set one apart from the other.
What is the SAT?
An abbreviated form of the Scholastic Assessment Test, SAT is a standardized test that acts as a shared data point for colleges and universities to measure the readiness of a student. Based on the standard scale, educational institutions draw a comparison between different applicants and award admission only to the most deserving ones.
A student has to attempt two sections on the SAT: math and evidence-based reading and writing. In the SAT, there’s also an optional essay section. Attempt it if the college you are seeking to get admission in requires you to complete it.
Wondering when to take the test? Spring of your junior year is the best time to sit for the exam so that you have ample time to re-take the test if need be. Students often attempt to raise their scores, so if you feel your scores are low or unsatisfactory, you can always sit for the test again to aim for improvement. The only condition is to register for the SAT five weeks before the test date.
What is the ACT?
An acronym of the American College Testing, ACT is also a standardized test or an entrance exam for colleges and universities. Much like the SAT, it’s a multiple-choice test, having four sections: English, reading, math, and science.
There’s also an optional writing test, just like the essay section of the SAT.
Regarding the ideal time to sit for the exam, it should again be spring of your junior year. Since the test deadline closes five weeks before the test date, you should register while there’s still time. Find out the test dates for the ACT today!
Differences between the SAT and the ACT
In an American education system, where most of the colleges and universities accord equal importance to both SAT and ACT, students find it difficult to choose between the two. But with the recent changes in SAT, especially in the duration of the test and the total number of questions, both of which have shortened, students are finding it a lot similar to the ACT. So, most of them are sitting for both the exams and submit the score that’s higher.
Despite the seeming similarities, there are real differences between the two. Let’s have a look at them:
- The ACT is a more comprehensive test, but it takes an hour less than the SAT.
- Unlike the ACT, the SAT measures the logic and reasoning abilities of an applicant. Many students find it a tad complex.
- Vocabulary enjoys more importance in SAT than in the ACT.
- Science and higher-level math like trigonometry enjoy greater emphasis in ACT than on SAT.
- From a text style stance, while SAT questions involve multi-step problem-solving, ACT questions are comparatively easy to solve. In simple words, the ACT is more straightforward.
Which should you take?
Are you still confused between the two? So, why not take a realistic practice test to check for yourself? Get an insight into your strengths and seek opportunities for improvement. You can also gather some ideas on both the entrance exams and arrive at a decision which is better for you.