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SAT vs. ACT: How to Choose

When choosing whether to take the SAT or the ACT, proper evaluation is worth the effort.  Students should take a full-length, timed practice test for SAT and ACT. Here are some questions to ask yourself that highlight the differences between the SAT and ACT:

  • How do you handle time pressure? 
    • The SAT and ACT tests are similar lengths, but the ACT includes more questions and is therefore faster-paced. The ACT can be well suited for students who process information and work quickly  
  • Do you like science? 
    • Basic knowledge of biology, chemistry, and earth science is required for the ACT 
  • What kinds of questions do you find challenging? 
    • There is more time allotted per question on the SAT, but areas such as the critical reading passages on the SAT are generally viewed as more sophisticated
  • Do you like to use your calculator on the math sections? 
    • If yes, the ACT allows calculators throughout. The SAT has a no-calculator section

For students interested in comparing scores on the SAT and ACT, the College Board and the ACT organization provide conversion charts to show how composite scores stack up.