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ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take

ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take photo

Publication Date: | Categories: Blog

Well, let’s start with the fact that both tests are equally accepted by U.S. colleges. However, there are several obvious differences that may influence your choice of a particular test.

Number of questions. The SAT test consists of 154 questions whilst the ACT is made of 215.

Timing. The SAT test will take you three hours. However, if you also decide to write an essay (which is optional), you need to add fifty more minutes to the total time which means that the SAT can take a student from three to nearly four hours to complete it.

On the contrary, the ACT lasts for two hours and fifty-five minutes. An optional test will take you forty minutes more which increases the total time for writing the test to more than three and a half hours.

Scores. The total amount of points you can get for each tests is also different. For the SAT, the total score you can get is from 400 to 1600 points. For the ACT, you can get from 1 to 36 points in total. Optional essays are not included in this score range!

Prices. Both tests are paid. The SAT will cost you 47.50 dollars for the test. If you decide to write an essay, too, the total price will be 64.50 dollars.

The ACT test costs 50.50 dollars and 67 dollars if the essay is included. Also remember that some extra fees may be included for different options like late registration for the test, etc.

As you can see, the difference is not that significant. However, both tests have their own peculiarities.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Test for You

What you can do to pick the most fitting test for yourself is to check out several useful tips that will help you to make up your mind.

  1. If you don’t know which test to take at all, we advise you to pass a practice test. There are both ACT and SAT official practice tests which you can take in order to see which one is more comfortable for you.
  2. It’s good to know that the ACT and the SAT appeal for different types of students. The ACT is better for those who have strong English background as long as the test emphasize verbal skills. On the contrary, the SAT will do better for the students who are good at mathematics.
  3. Each test has different structure. The SAT consists of a 65-minute reading test, a writing part and a language test which take 35 minutes, and a meth section that takes 80 minutes. There are also general science questions asked throughout the test.

The ACT includes a reading test which takes 35 minutes, a 45-minute English test, 35-minute science test and a math section which will take you one hour.

As for the optional essay, some teachers tend to advise not to take this part of the test because quite many colleges do not require it anymore. However, what we advise you to do is to check whether the college or colleges you are applying to require this writing part from their applicants. You don’t want to find out that you have missed such an important part and lost pretty much of your admission score, do you? So, unless you are very bad at writing, we strongly recommend writing this essay in case your college requires it!