What are the differences between the SAT and the ACT?
Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test they would fare better in.
Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the SAT and ACT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.
Here are some key differences between the SAT and ACT:
|Scoring||Composite score of 400 - 1600||Composite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)|
|Format||Paper and Pencil||Computerized|
|Dates||Offered five times a year:|
|Offered seven times a year:|
|Math formulas||Geometry formulas are provided||To be memorized|
|Calculator policy||Allowed in one Math sub-section||Allowed in Math section|
Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
The types of questions in each section of the SAT and the ACT vary. Ultimately, the best way to know which test is a better fit for you is to attempt both. Click here to schedule a free SAT and/or ACT Diagnostic Test.
The key differences in concepts tested on the SAT and the ACT are here:
|Reading||Questions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.||Questions are not in chronological order — being able to remember the location of exact details in passages gives you an advantage. You are given approx. 8 minutes per passage.|
|Writing||More focused on questions about writing style, language precision and vocabulary.||More focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.|
|Math||Focus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.||Wider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.|
|Science||No Science section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.||Comfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.|
|Essay||No longer offered after June 2021.||Analyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.|