ACT vs SAT : Here is How to Make the Right Choice
The main objective of both SAT and ACT is to test a student’s mathematical, writing and aptitude skills. So chiefly, it is all about the numbers wherein some students excel in SAT, while others perform better in ACT.
Based on research, here are the features about SAT and ACT, which state how they vary from each other.
The given details of the ACT and SAT rests give us a clear view of the marking pattern, negative marking and strategies used to design each of them. Based on these, here the basic comparisons made between both the tests, which will help you choose the appropriate way for you.
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- ACT questions are more straight forward than those of SAT
Questions in the ACT format are easier to understand in the first go. They are kept simple and given in an easy to understand way to the student.
On the other hand, SAT questions are complex and thrown to you in a mystified manner. One takes time to figure out how to solve the questions. Words are played well in this kind of test, puzzling the student and tricking them well.
- SAT requires a stronger emphasis on vocabulary
If you have your way with words, know how to use them well and are expert in vocabulary, and then SAT will be an easy dish for you.
For attempting ACT, one can go ahead with a ordinary vocabulary too, as it does not require you to be an passionate wordsmith.
- The ACT has a science section
ACT is designed to test your reading and reasoning skills, based on a set of facts presented to the student. There is no rocket science required to crack these questions. Play smart and solve the reasoning questions logically.
If science is your thing, if you are exceptionally well at chemicals and reactions, then truly, SAT is the thing for you.
- The ACT is optional on test day, but required by many schools
The ACT is optional. If you apply to attempt it, it will not be included in your composite score; it will be listed separately. Many colleges require the writing section of the ACT hence you must be assured after cross-checking with the schools while you are applying.
The SAT is included in your writing score and listed in it, rather than as a separate.
- ACT evaluates more advanced mathematical concepts
ACT requires you to be a master of trigonometry and algebra along with basic arithmetic and geometry. The ACT still has questions in a straight-forward way, as described earlier. The questions in SAT are put up in a complex manner, set to trick you well before you attempt it.
- SAT is divided into more sections that ACT
While choosing between SAT and ACT, think whether you handle moving back and forth among the different topics. In ACT, you are required to solve each content area (English, reading, math and science) in one big portion, followed by the writing test and the end.
The format of SAT is different than that of ACT. The critical reading, math and writing are further divided into 10 sections. The required essay is given in the beginning. One goes ahead by solving math, writing, critical reading, some more math etc.
Hence one needs to know their quality that whether they can fluctuate between topics. If they can, then SAT will not be much difficult for them.
- ACT is more about composite score
College administration officers analyze on your scores in each section of SAT.
On the other hand, ACT is more like ‘the big picture’, i.e. your total score is more of concern. The advantage of ACT is that even if you are weak at one section, but have strong roots in the other, you can still have a good score and impress the admissions committee with it. Whereas in SAT, being weak in one section will reflect in your scores and you may not be selected due to it.
These are the comparisons drawn between SAT and ACT. To choose what is better for you and whether you can perform better in SAT or ACT, here are few guidelines to keep in mind while choosing.
- Assess your critical thinking skills and overall knowledge.
SAT primarily assesses your reasoning ability and ACT focuses on strict knowledge. For example, ACT puts up questions in a straightforward manner in math, whereas SAT presents questions story-like problems and creative applications of the basic rules of geometry. The reading comprehension section of the SAT requires you to manage your time well, as they are quite lengthy and have some tricky and mind-boggling questions too.
Reading comprehension in ACT focuses more on your skills in grammar.
- Know your skills at science
Students good at high school chemistry, physics and biology can look forward to ACT to show their skills. Is also requires interpretation of charts, graphs and proper knowledge of equations and reactions. The science section is not present in SAT format. Thus one can have an advantage in ACT if they are exceptionally good in science.
Both SAT and ACT are ways to judge a child’s writing, interpreting and solving skills. One needs to be alert, confident and well-practiced to attempt them. It is better to take practice exams for both, either online or from a professional book. Keep in mind to follow the exams’ format while practicing.
Have you decided which one will you be taking ? SAT or ACT ? Share your views with us in comments. Looking for more resources to help you decide between New SAT and ACT, check the attached link.