Should I take the ACT or the SAT?


ACT vs. SAT



The road to college can be confusing one. Choosing the right admission test to take - SAT or ACT - doesn’t have to be. While most colleges across the country accept scores from either test, there are differences in the tests, and in many ways, they measure different skills. Check with your guidance counselor and college admission offices to decide which test is right for you.



Differences at a Glance


SAT ACT
Why Take It Colleges use SAT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships. Colleges use ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.
Test Structure
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Writing and Language
Essay (Optional)
  • Math
  • Reading
  • English
  • Science
Essay (Optional)
Length
  • 3 hours (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
  • 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
Reading 5 reading passages 4 reading passages
Science None 1 science section testing your critical thinking skills (not your specific science knowledge)
Math Covers:
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis
Covers:
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry and Trigonometry
Tools Some math questions don't allow you to use a calculator. You can use a calculator on all math questions.
Essays Optional. The essay will test your comprehension of a source text. Optional. The essay will test how well you evaluate and analyze complex issues.
How It's Scored Scored on a scale of 400-1600 Scored on a scale of 1-36
Registration Register online at www.actstudent.org Register online at www.collegeboard.com
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