SAT or ACT?
Colleges and universities around the U.S. now accept either of these two standardized tests without preference for one or the other.
So which one should your son or daughter take? Let this list give you a bit of guidance:
- The SAT begins with a 65-minute reading section. Yowza. The ACT offers a more forgiving 45-minute grammar section. So if you’re a bit slower first thing in the morning, lean ACT.
- Both tests last about 3.5 hours (including breaks) with an optional essay at the end. Overall, the ACT is slightly shorter.
- Both tests are offered exclusively on Saturday mornings at 8am. The SAT is offered in March, May, June, August, October, November, & December (7 times a year). The ACT is offered in February, April, June, July, September, October/November, and December (7 times a year).
- For those colleges and universities that require SAT Subject Test results in addition to the central SAT score, the vast majority offer a wonderful loophole: instead of sending both SAT & 2-3 SAT Subject Test scores, students are welcome instead to send only ACT scores. So if you’re looking at highly competitive schools and want to decrease your test load, ACT is the way to go.
- The ACT’s notorious Science section involves essentially no biology, chemistry, or physics knowledge. Instead, it tests students’ ability to interpret data (charts, graphs, etc).
- The SAT Math is split into two different sections, one of which restricts the use of calculators. The ACT has one math section, on which calculators are permitted.
- Both tests have grammar sections, and each one focuses on the same major topic: punctuation and transition words.
- The average SAT score is about 1060 (perfect score: 1600) and the average ACT score is about 20 (perfect score: 36).
Happy test prepping!!