The SAT and ACT are two exams popularly taken by high school students seeking admission into a university. Each exam evaluates student's general knowledge in several areas and their readiness for university studies. While each exam is slightly different and offers slight advantages, there are few differences that might aid you in deciding which exam is best for you.

Why you should take the ACT

In The ACT exam, the questions tend to be straightforward and easy to understand, although the answers may still be quite challenging to come by. Additionally, for those who are weak in math, the ACT does not require you to produce your answers, but instead it offers multiple-choice options throughout. Students who are strong in science may like the chance to show their skills in the science section. Finally, the ACT is known overall for being a more straight-forward assessment of one's knowledge and doesn't evaluate one's critical thinking skills. Why you should take the SAT

While the question phrasing in the SAT might be challenging compared to the ACT, quite often the answers are still quite simple. Questions increase in difficulty progressively, which is good for students who have trouble warming up, or are confused by questions that appear easier than they are, in the ACT the difficulty level is random. Students taking the SAT will be provided with math formulas in their test booklet, and students who are weak in science will not have to complete a science section like in the ACT. Finally, the SAT also offers subjects tests which may be required by your school of choice, especially Ivy League schools, and taking these exams can improve your potential for being admitted into a school.

A score of 1300 in SAT is considered to be equivalent of 27/36 in ACT.
SAT focuses more on reasoning, while the ACT has more emphasis on subjects.
SAT is conducted 7 times/yr, ACT is conducted 6 times/year.
SAT has 154 questions (3 hr test), ACT has 215 questions (2 hr 44 mins) (excludes optional essay)

Which test does your school want?

First and foremost, both exams are accepted by nearly every four-year university, but some exams are more typically taken in certain parts of the country or for particular types of schools. The SAT is more popular with private schools and west and east coast schools. The ACT, on the other hand, is more popular in the Midwest and south. Research shows that the same student is likely to have comparable results on either exam, so if you're still undecided, take a few practice exams and see which one works best for your skills and test-taking style.

Finally, a few things to consider are testing times and registration deadlines. The SAT can be registered a little sooner to testing date, with the registration deadline only four weeks before the exam, so if you forgot to register early, you'd have more leeway with the SAT, whereas the ACT requires registration five to six weeks in advance. Both exams are frequently offered, six or seven times a year, and at many times of the year, aside from December, January, and June, the tests are offered in alternating months, so if all else fails, take both exams at different times of the year.

Ultimately, the most important factors to base your decision on are which exam will best reflect your abilities and which exam is most popularly taken for admission into your school of choice. After weighing your strengths, your school's preferences, and possibly taking a few practice exams, make your decision and crack that study guide because in either case, the most important thing you can do is to be well-prepared so that your scores are the best they can be.

Exam Prep