Admission News

Who Should Take the SAT, and Who Should take the ACT?

Written by CB Experts

There are distinct differences between the SAT and the ACT. Students want the best score for their college application so they should know what those differences are and how they might affect their score.

Here are some differences between the tests and things to consider about whether or not one test is better for you than the other.

• The SAT has 10 short sections; the ACT has four longer sections. For students who have difficulty concentrating for longer periods of time, the SAT might be the test to opt for.

• The ACT covers more questions in a shorter period of time, while the SAT gives more time for fewer questions. If you process slowly or feel too pressured by having to answer quickly, the SAT might be better for you.

• The SAT asks students to problem solve and apply information; the ACT is more oriented to asking students to replicate things they have already done in school. If you are a good student and know the information, you might perform better on the ACT.  If you are a creative thinker or like to figure things out as you go, take the SAT.

• One third of the SAT is vocabulary based. If you are weak in vocabulary, you might want to take the ACT.

• The ACT allows extra time for students who qualify. If you have any learning or processing disabilities, the ACT may be better for you to take.

• The ACT has a science section and covers advanced math, including trigonometry. If you are more of an English student you may want to take the SAT.  If you are great in science and math, the ACT is the test to take.

• The SAT has more gaming in it: harder questions at the end, answer choices spread strategically, etc. The ACT is more straight-forward. If you like to just find the answer and not guess with a strategy, the ACT may be the test for you.

Both tests predict your ability to do well in college equally well. Also, college admissions state that submitting either or both scores are acceptable… so students should choose the test they feel they can do their best on.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.