ACT vs SAT

What's the Difference

Good test scores are a crucial part to a competitive college application. In order to get the highest possible test score you need to know which test is a better fit for you. While colleges don’t prefer one test to the other, it’s important to have the highest comparative score possible. For example, a 1600 on the New SAT is equivalent to a 36 on the ACT. These scores look exactly the same on your college application.

To determine which test will give you the best comparative score, you need to examine the differences between the two. The key differences between the New SAT and the ACT are:

Science

The New SAT does not have a science section. Even though many people find the ACT’s science section easy to master, if science isn’t your strong suit then the SAT might be the better choice for you.

Essay 

The optional essay portion of each test is different. While the New SAT asks you to evaluate an argument that has already been written, the ACT asks you to create your own argument and support it. It’s up to you to decide which might be easier for you.

Math

Calculators are allowed throughout the entire math section of the ACT. The SAT has a section for calculator use and a section without. All of the answers to the math section of the ACT are multiple choice. However, the New SAT requires you to write in the answers of 13 math problems.

Reading

The New SAT has five reading passages, while the ACT has four. If reading isn’t something you enjoy, you might want to stick with the ACT.

Time Intensity 

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two tests is their time and intensity. The New SAT allows test takers ample time to complete problems, making it far less intense than the ACT. The ACT requires you to move through questions at an extremely fast pace.

For the most part, both of these tests are pretty much the same. They are both graded on a curve, meaning that it doesn’t matter how well you do, but rather how well you do in comparison to everyone else that took the same test.

SAT vs. ACT Diagnostic Test

It can be difficult to decide which test to take. This is why Young Scholars is offering 11th and 12th graders in Northern Virginia a free SAT vs. ACT Diagnostic Test on Saturday nights. This test is limited to only the first twelve registrants.

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