For many in high school, the search for the right college can be a daunting task. What often makes it even harder is figuring out which placement test to take before ever applying for a specific school. Which test is better? ACT or SAT? Here’s a look at the differences and similarities between the two tests:


  • Questions more direct
  • Focuses on Grammar related questions
  • Includes Science portion
  • Includes Trigonometry questions within Math portion
  • Writing test optional; score appears separately from composite score
  • Four longer segments of the test


  • Puts more emphasis on critical thinking skills
  • Evaluates reading comprehension
  • More vocabulary driven
  • Math portion more likely to include word problems
  • Writing segment built into test and overall score
  • Ten distinct sections of the test


  • Tests on Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry in Math portion
  • Costs are usually around the same price

As you can see, both tests have positives and negatives to them. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. The ACT allows you to stay in one subject for a longer stretch, while the SAT offers frequent changes in subject matter, which might be more to your liking. Or you can take both tests and see which score is better. Depending on the college, one test might be preferred over the other.

Learning Ascent offers test prep for both the ACT and SAT. For more information on these courses, click here.

Since 2002, the professional tutors at Learning Ascent in St Charles, IL have provided tutoring and ACT prep, helping thousands of students from Batavia IL, Geneva IL, South Elgin IL and other Fox Valley towns to improve their academic performance.

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