Difference Between ACT and SAT | Differentiating between the SAT and ACT will help you figure out which test is your best bet to further your career choice.
Difference Between ACT and SAT
Preparation for and taking the SAT and ACT is an important part of universities/college admissions. Below are facts and recommendations which will help you decide which test to focus on.
What is ACT and SAT
The ACT score is a score on a scale of 1–36, and the average ACT score is 28. There are 4 sections on the ACT: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section is scored out of 36 points.
A SAT score is the sum of your two section scores: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW). A SAT score ranges from 400 to 1600, depending on the section, each section uses a scale of 200-800 in 10-point increments.
What Are the Differences Between the SAT and ACT?
Both SAT and ACT play the same role in the admissions process. Universities/Colleges use them to assess your readiness for college-level work, and most colleges don’t prefer one test over the other.
In 2016, the College Board released a redesigned SAT, which made the two tests became very similar. Both tests measure your ability to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve gained in high school. Both simulate the kind of reading, writing, math, and problem-solving you’ll encounter in college. But there are some differences to consider:
The ACT has a science test which is a compilation of a 40-question covering topics in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and space science. You’ll be asked to use scientific reasoning to interpret data and results, evaluate the design of experiments, and analyze and compare conflicting hypotheses.
The SAT does not have a science test, just two science-related questions in the Reading Test.
See Also: How to Prepare for ACT and SAT Test
The SAT contains what is called “evidence questions.” The SAT’s Evidence Based Reading and Writing section will ask you to interpret and analyze evidence presented in a variety of ways, such as in reading passages and informational graphics. Some reading questions will ask you to find evidence in a passage that supports your answers to previous questions.
SAT Math Test places emphases mostly on algebra (linear equations and systems) and data analysis. ACT has more of geometry as composed in Math. Up to a 3rd of the math questions on the ACT involve geometry.
SAT Math test isn’t completely multiple choice. While most of the SAT math questions let you select the correct answer from a list of options, about 20 percent require you to calculate the answer and record it on your answer sheet. The ACT math test is multiple choice.
Both SAT and ACT have different essays. The ACT essay present three viewpoints on a topic and ask you to argue your opinion in relation to the others. SAT essay asks you to analyze someone else’s argument. The essay is optional on both the SAT and the ACT, but some colleges require it depending on your choice of college.
Choosing Between ACT or SAT
With the outlined differences above, we see that ACT testing for a subject like maths deals mainly with geometry, with this, experts say that if you are strong in science and math (especially geometry) and you believe to function well under its slightly tighter time limit, you might do better on the ACT. For the SAT, If you are an analytical thinker who excels in a subject like English, you might do better on the SAT. Coming down to your personal preferences for the types of questions you encounter, your success on one test over the other might lie on that.
How Do You Decide Between the SAT and ACT?
After checking on your functionality on the either ACT or SAT, Take some practice tests. Free practice tests are available on the College Board and ACT websites. Taking the PSAT as a sophomore or junior will give you a good idea of what to expect on the SAT. When you take the practice tests, pay attention to your comfort level with each test. Do you feel like you have enough time to answer all the questions, or do you feel rushed? Do you find the reading passages straightforward or confusing?
Do you struggle with certain math problems and speed through others?
Which essay did you enjoy writing more?
Which of the test questions were you fast to attain to?
Sit for both tests using a few practice exams, if you still unsure, then sign up for both tests, sit for the official exams, and see how you do. If you perform meaningfully better on one, focus your study on that test and take it again. This will help improve your score.