Every year, juniors across the country take either the ACT or SAT test to prepare for college entrance. But which would should you take? There are differences between the two, so it is important what to expect in each. Here is a breakdown of the two tests:


  • There is a science section to the test
  • The reading section breaks down to 8.5 minutes per passage: time management is much more important
  • Vocabulary within the test is much more understandable and modern
  • Trigonometry questions can be found in the math section
  • Essay is more complex and requires more elements from student
  • Questions are more straightforward and concrete
  • The ACT has been around for a while; students have been taking it for years
  • Format of test has not changed


  • There is no science test; instead there are two math portions
  • The reading test breaks down to 13 minutes per passage: It is easier to read the passage and answer the questions in that time
  • Vocabulary is more formal and at times archaic within test
  • There are more word problems in the math test
  • Essay is more like a close reading analysis
  • Questions are more about critical thinking skills and abstract ideas
  • New SAT is still working out the kinks; students in the next year or so will be the “guinnea pigs”
  • The SAT has recently changed its format

Obviously there are positives and negatives to both tests. Ultimately, it is up to you and what you think will be the best fit for you. If you know you’ll need more time with reading and science isn’t your thing, maybe go with SAT. If you like English and need things to be more straightforward, try the ACT. Whichever one you decide to take will help colleges see what your skills and abilities are. There is no wrong test per se, just maybe one that’s not the right fit.Click here for Homework Help resources.

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