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Differences Between ACT and SAT

Differences Between ACT and SAT

Differences Between ACT and SAT​ most popular and well-known exams for pursuing your undergraduate degree.

each has its own distinct requirements. Additionally, depending on how well you perform, you may be granted merit scholarships that can be used to pay for college. Both of them are expensive, quick to finish (and require some preparation).

Before choosing which test to take, use this resource to obtain a better grasp of what to expect from the SAT or the ACT. The booklet contains a number of exam-specific information and frequently requested questions that test participants may consider asking themselves. If you are getting ready for college and considering your testing options, make sure you are prepared to make an informed decision about your future.

Comparison between SAT and ACT: Test Differences

Standardized examinations like the SAT and ACT are used by colleges and institutions to assess your readiness for college-level coursework.

At first sight, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the two exams. They all take about the same length of time to finish and cover the same essential topics—reading, writing, comprehension, problem-solving, and mathematics (between 3 hours and 35 minutes for the ACT and roughly 3 hours and 50 minutes for the SAT). The SAT underwent a considerable makeover and redesign in 2016, and as a result, its format is now quite similar to that of the ACT. The two exams used to be more distinct from one another.

Due to the fact that both the ACT and the SAT are accepted by all US schools and institutions, there is no obvious advantage to taking one test over the other. Despite these similarities, there are a few unexpected differences that may influence your choice. The following is a list of the main differences:

Timer per Section

The biggest variation is the amount of time allocated for each test component. While the ACT wants you to complete the questions more quickly, the SAT allows you extra time for each question in every section of the test.

The SAT’s questions can occasionally necessitate longer reading and problem-solving periods, while the ACT has more questions overall (so they take a little longer to complete).

Scoring Scale

The way the two exams are graded is also extremely different: the SAT gives a total score between 400 and 1600 points, whereas the ACT gives a score based on the average of each section on a scale of 1-36.

Sections on science and mathematics

The ACT’s science section has a unique component. The ACT has one math and one science section, compared to the two math portions of the SAT (one with and one without a calculator). Both tests include reading and writing portions (referred to as simply “English” for the ACT).

Particularly remarkable are the arithmetic portions of both exams. Both tests include a significant emphasis on algebra, but the ACT prioritizes geometry and trigonometry more than the SAT and allows calculators throughout the whole test (whereas the SAT has one math section that does not allow a calculator).

The SAT provides a small reference guide with illustrations and formulas for numerous basic mathematical concepts, but the ACT does not. This might be useful for students who have trouble remembering formulas. The SAT math score, however, accounts for about 50% of the final exam score. On the other hand, the ACT’s math part only contributes to around a quarter of the overall test score. Because of this, even while the SAT can be a good reference tool, it may not be the best test to take if you have arithmetic problems.

Questions about Command of Evidence

The two tests’ question formats also diverge considerably from one another. The questions on the SAT’s special reading portion are organized chronologically with the content they relate to and ask you to support your answers with evidence. However, there is no section of the ACT questions with questions requiring proof; instead, the questions are randomly listed according to the paragraph they refer to.

Essay or writing assignment that is optional

Both the SAT and ACT have a writing or essay component that is optional. But for each test, a different approach to responding to the given question is required. For the SAT, you will be given a writing prompt, and you will be expected to examine the subject without expressing an opinion. It is an objective or fact-based task. The ACT, however, will provide you with a prompt that also asks for your opinion on the matter.

SAT Summary

The Scholastic Assessment Test (formerly known as the SAT) is a standardized test that assesses a student’s critical thinking and comprehension to determine how well they might perform in college-level courses. The most current adjustment of the 1926 original test was made in 2016 in order to reflect changes in educational standards, expectations, and technological advancements. The College Board, a US non-profit corporation, is the owner, creator, and publisher of the exam.

Timing and Length of the Test

A timed aptitude test is the SAT. The exam should last 3 hours in total, plus an additional 50 minutes for those who choose to complete the optional essay. This does not include break time.

Each component is additionally broken down into timed chunks to guarantee that every student has an equal chance of finishing the test. Following is the timing for the portions:

65 minutes reading
35 minutes for writing and language
No calculator math: 25 minutes
55 minutes on a math calculator
Essay: 50 minutes, optional

Sections and Question Quantity

The following sections of the SAT, which are organized chronologically, each have a set number of questions. The majority of the questions are multiple-choice, with the exception of the optional essay section. There are numerous “grid-in” answer problems in the math part as well (this requires you to write the question down on a paper that is provided to you).

Read: 52 inquiries
44 questions about language and writing
20 math problems without a calculator
Calculator for math: 38 questions
Essay: 1 essay (optional).

What Does My SAT Score Indicate?

The SAT scoring algorithm simply adds up the results from each section rather than calculating an average to determine your score. The math and evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) components each receive a grade between 200 and 800. Your ultimate score, which will range from 400 to 1600, will be calculated by adding the results of the two portions.

Similar to the ACT, the optional essay portion of the SAT does not affect your final score. According to the following criteria: reading, analysis, and writing, it is scored on a scale of 2–8.

Here is an illustration of how the SAT could be graded:

EBRW: 645

Math: 700

Score in total: 1345

Essay: 4, 6, (optional) (13 total)

ACT Summary

The ACT, also known as American College Testing, is a standardized test that evaluates a student’s understanding and critical thinking skills to determine how well-prepared they would be for college-level education. Soon, you’ll be able to take this test online, which was originally created in 1959 but has undergone some revisions. The exam was developed by and is administered by a similar non-profit organization in the US (ACT).

Timing and Length of the Test

The ACT is a timed aptitude test. The exam should take a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus an additional 40 minutes for those who decide to complete the optional writing portion. This does not include break time.

The ACT further separates each section into timed chunks, much like the SAT, to encourage students to avoid getting bogged down on a particularly challenging subject.

These are what they are:

45 minutes in English
Math: 60 minutes.
35 minutes reading
35 minutes: science
40 minutes for the optional writing

Sections and Question Quantity

The ACT is broken up into the following sections, which are listed in order of when they were added. Each section has a corresponding number of questions. The questions are all multiple-choice (with the exception of the optional writing section).

75 questions in English
60 questions in math
Read: 40 inquiries
40 questions in science
Writing: 1 essay (optional).

What Does My ACT Score Indicate?

For each portion of the ACT, a scale from 1 to 36 determines the final score. The final score will be determined by taking the average of the points from the four sections, which will range from 1-36.

An analytical scoring rubric is used to rate the exam’s writing section, which is graded on a scale of 2 to 12. Your exam’s overall grade is unaffected by the writing score.

Here is an example of how the ACT might be scored:

Language: 20
Math: 30
Lesson: 24
27 Science
Final result: 26
10 written (optional)

Differences Between ACT and SAT

Which is easier, the ACT or the SAT?

Prior to taking the test, you must select the option that is ideal for you. Remember that no test is “easier” than another; rather, how well you perform on one test compared to the other largely depends on your own abilities.

When discussing the test’s differences, the math section jumps out. The SAT includes two math sections, one with a calculator and the other without, as well as a formula reference manual. However, the math sections of the SAT account for 50% of your overall score.

On the other hand, the ACT only offers one science section, one math section (with calculator), and no study guide. 
In this instance, the final ACT score would only include 25% of the math score.
If math isn’t your strongest subject, you might find it more beneficial to concentrate your study efforts on the ACT rather than the SAT. 
But if you have strong analytical streak and like math, the SAT might be your test of choice.
Remember that the ACT includes few questions that allude to geometry and trigonometry (in contrast to the SAT, which focuses more on algebra), so brush up on formulae and the fundamentals of geometry as you prepare for the test.

Where Can you Study SAT?

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