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ACT Vs. SAT: Which College Admission Test Are You Going to Take?

Updated on November 18, 2018
WinnieC76 profile image

Winnie is an expert test taker and advisor at GED Study Guide in Test Prep Toolkit.

ACT Vs SAT: Make The Right Choice and Pass With Flying Colors

How do you compare the SAT vs ACT? You might be wondering about the differences between these two popular college admissions tests. Are you mulling over which one you are going to take? There are students who decide on taking both of them. After all, there’s no saying that one is more superior than the other. This article will guide you about choosing between the SAT vs ACT, whichever is most viable to take, or both.

What is the criteria for admission of your chosen colleges? What are the SAT and ACT scores that they require for accepting new students? If they don’t require any of these, then you can make your own choice of whether to take the SAT or ACT. There actually are no guarantees that the SAT is easier than the ACT, or vise versa. You mainly have to concern yourself about which of the format (of either the two tests) better suits you academic strengths.

Consider that each of these tests (the ACT and SAT) have varied formats and structures. Their emphases are different, and you should fix on a test that you feel more familiar to. The higher scores that you get- either in the SAT or the ACT should allow you to gain admission to the college of your choice. The following will discuss the divergence of the SAT vs ACT that should guide you about which test to take.

How To Prepare For The ACT

The ACT aims to measure your academic capabilities and college-readiness and competitiveness. It covers 4 subject areas- English, Math, Science and Reading. Not counting the breaks, the time allocation for taking the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes. Your score in the ACT ranges from 1 to 36. Averaging your scores on the 4 subject areas mentioned above will lead you to determine your composite score. You also have the option to take the elective ACT Writing test which takes 30 minutes. It is designed to measure your organizational and writing skills. Your additional score in this test will be reported seperately.

Thus, if your writing skills are vulnerable, you should skip taking the ACT Essay test. However, you will be obliged to tackle this subject area if your target college requires a score for it. Conversely, if your writing skills are exemplary, you ought to highlight it by taking the ACT Essay test. When carrying on with your ACT test prep, take practice tests, both from online and offline resources. These will provide you with a “feel” of your ACT test.

How To Prepare For The SAT

In the ACT, your educational development will be measured, while the SAT is bound to evaluate your general thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. The 2 major sections that make-up the SAT are: 1) Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and 2) Math. Your time allocation for this test should be 3 hours.

You will encounter multiple-choice questions in the SAT, just like in the ACT, but you have to produce your own answers in the SAT Math section. It is not a good idea to guess in this particular area of the said test. No penalty is imposed for wrong answers in both these college admission tests.

It is a smart move to take practice tests when preparing for the SAT as well. Using these test prep tools will familiarize you with the test, making you more confident and ward off exam anxiety. The will help you figure out what your strong and weak areas are so that you can have an inkling about which to work or build up on.

So, Which Test Are You Going To Choose- The ACT or The SAT?

You have the option to choose which test you are comfortable with between the ACT vs SAT. Then again, you have to choose wisely depending on particular factors. You can potentially produce excellent scores from each of these tests. Numerous students have in fact scored comparably on them. But since the ACT and the SAT measure different skill areas, you can settle on taking both of them. There is actually no such thing as an ACT vs SAT dilemma, because you can take both of these tests, especially if your target colleges do not specify requirements for either. Taking both the ACT and the SAT will give you the priviledge to work out a better score from each of these tests.

If you lack time or money, you can resort to a more economical yet convenient way to decipher whether you’ll take the ACT vs SAT. Look for ACT and SAT practice tests online in Test Prep Toolkit, or hard copies of them from your local library. This test prep method will quickly help you figure out which test you are more comfortable with. Practice tests will assist you in making a better judgment of your aptitude and predilections, allowing you to accurately decide on taking either the SAT, the ACT or both.

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    • WinnieC76 profile imageAUTHOR

      Winnie Custodio 

      11 months ago

      Thank you Patty! And for sharing this valuable information!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 months ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      This information is quite good and i will share the article.

      In my school district until 1974, the choice was made for students -- boys could take the SAT but girls were only allowed to take the ACT.

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