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SAT or ACT? The Eternal Question.

To SAT or to ACT – that is the question; one that always rears its ugly head. Which one is best? Which one is easiest? Which one is right for me? These are fair questions considering the amount of stress and pressure prospective students are already under. Tales that these test results may be the key that opens the academic door to the rest of their lives can be over exaggerated, but not without merit.


General Information

  • The SAT takes 3 hours to complete. 
  • The ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete.
  • The ACT has a 40 minute optional writing test section. This could stretch the entire test to a little over 3 hours 30 minutes
  • SAT scores range from 400 – 1600.
  • ACT scores range from 1 – 36.


SAT sections:

  • Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Math (No Calculator)
  • Math (Calculator)


ACT Sections

  • English
  • Math 
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Writing (Optional)

Which test is easier?

Generally speaking neither test is easier. The two exams may appeal to different types of students. It can be argued that students with a strong English background “may flourish on the ACT,” which puts more emphasis on verbal skills, says Mai Jumamil, former director of college prep programs at Kaplan, while for students who are strong in math, “the SAT may reflect that much better.”


Is one test preferred over another by colleges?

There is a pervasive myth that the SAT is preferred over the ACT. The short answer to this question is that it is false. No test is preferred by any college.


There are some differences…

  1. As you can see, the ACT has a science sections
  2. Time per question can differ
  3. The SAT has a “No Calculator” section
  4. The ACT focuses on geometry over algebra in the math section
  5. The ACT doesn’t provide you with math formulas, whereas the SAT does
  6. The ACT math provides multiple choice questions
  7. Optional essay for the ACT


Which test is right for you?

This is the million dollar question. To which, there is no right answer. I would suggest taking practice tests for both and this will enable you to see where you stand with regards to scoring. Just remember to try and remain calm, do your research, take some practice tests and it will all become much clearer.


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