What is the difference between the SAT and the ACT??

When deciding whether to take the SAT or the ACT test you should look at 2 things: which test the schools you are applying to require and which test you will perform better on.  To help you figure out the latter here are some differences between both tests:

  • SAT is reasoning-based, ACT is knowledge-based
  • The ACT included a science reasoning section, the SAT does not
  • The math section of the ACT included trigonometry, the SAT only tests up to Algebra II
  • The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT
  • The SAT is not entirely multiple choice, the ACT is
  • SAT deducts a fraction of a point for wrong answers, the ACT does not
  • The ACT tests English grammar
  • The writing portion of the ACT is optional, on the SAT is mandatory

The SAT tests your skill in math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.  It consists of 8 sections: 3 verbal, 3 math, 1 writing and 1 extra section that can be either math or verbal.  Each subject is scored on a scale of 200-800 points for a maximum score of 2400 points. 

The ACT is designed to test your skill levels in English, math, reading, and science reasoning.  The math section is composed of 60 questions, the rest of the sections are composed of several reading passages accompanied by 5-15 questions for each.  You will receive 12 different scores: 1 composite, 4 subject scores, and 7 subscores.

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