ACT vs. SAT
How to know which test best fits your learning style.
November 5, 2018
Taking the SAT and the ACT can seem like a stressful process, but knowing what you are being tested on can be very beneficial. Most colleges do not prefer one test over another, so you can take the test that suits your learning style. Although the SAT and the ACT may seem similar, there are some distinct differences that every test taker should know.
The ACT tests your knowledge in English, math, reading and science reasoning.
The ACT has an optional essay portion. It will test a student’s ability to write on complex issues.
How long is it?
The test duration for the ACT is two hours and 55 minutes or three hours and 40 minutes with the optional essay portion.
The reading portion on the ACT consists of four passages and multiple choice questions that go along with them. These questions test various reading comprehension skills, including key ideas, details, craft, structure and integration of knowledge and ideas.
The math portion of the ACT covers math subjects up to Algebra II. The use of a calculator is permitted for the entire duration of the test.
The science portion on the ACT tests a student’s critical thinking skills. It does not test in specific scientific knowledge.
The ACT is graded on a scale from 1-36.
The SAT tests your knowledge in reading, writing, language and math.
The SAT has an optional essay portion. It will test a student’s ability to comprehend a source text.
How long is it?
The test duration for the SAT is three hours without the optional essay portion and three hours and 50 minutes with the essay portion.
The reading portion of the SAT consists of five passages and multiple choice questions that go along with them. These questions test skills such as command of evidence, words in context, and analysis in history or social studies and in science.
The math portion of the SAT covers math subjects up to Algebra II. There are two sections on the math portion, one permitting a calculator and without a calculator.
There is not a science portion on the SAT.
The SAT is graded on a scale from 400-1600.
If you still are unsure which test is right for you, try taking a timed practice test for both the ACT and the SAT. Also, doing ACT/SAT preparation before taking the tests can be very useful. Scoring high on these tests can be helpful for getting college scholarships or other merit awards.
Also, the tests can be taken as many times as you need. If your score is not what you hoped it would be, there is no penalty in trying again for a higher score. There is no need to stress over these tests. With ample preparation and self confidence, scoring high on the ACT or the SAT can be simple and stress-free.