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Published on March 29, 2023
The SAT and ACT are well-known standardized tests used in the college admissions process across the United States. However, there are a few key differences between the two:
- Format: The SAT comprises two primary sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math), with an optional essay component. In contrast, the ACT includes four main sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) and also offers an optional essay.
- Content: While the SAT places a greater emphasis on vocabulary and intricate reading comprehension, the ACT features a Science section and delves deeper into advanced Math concepts, such as trigonometry.
- Scoring: The SAT has a maximum score of 1600, with each section worth 800 points. The ACT, on the other hand, is scored out of 36, with the average score hovering around 20. Both tests have optional sections that don’t contribute to your overall score.
- Timing: The SAT allocates more time per question for each section, whereas the ACT presents more questions but allows for less time per question.
- Strategy: Some students believe that the SAT is more strategy-oriented, emphasizing test-taking techniques like process of elimination. Others, however, find the ACT to be more straightforward.
Ultimately, both tests are accepted by most colleges and universities, and many students choose to take both and see which score is higher. It’s important to research the requirements of the schools you’re interested in to determine which test (if any) is required, and to prepare accordingly.