ACT Vs SAT- What should you prefer and why

The SAT and ACT (American College Testing ) are tests that are used to measure college applicants. Most college students find it difficult to choose between the tests. Both the tests have their own characteristics. The concerned colleges usually specify which test you should take and if they have not, it should not be very difficult for you to choose. Picking between the tests would depend on your strengths as each emphasizes on different sections and they have different structures of the test papers. Enlightenment about such characteristics may help you decide between the ACT Vs SAT.


A comparison between ACT Vs SAT shows some clear differences which make each of the tests unique. It is difficult to say which test is more difficult. The ACT is said to test students for core knowledge and academics whereas the SAT is said to test students for critical thinking and reasoning. However, if you are making a college application and wish to choose to study a particular subject, you should consider the SAT as it also offers Subject Tests. The ACT is conducted 6 times a year. A schedule of the upcoming SAT test dates can be found on the SAT website. There is also a difference in the fee, taking the SAT costs $49 whereas the ACT costs $34 without the writing test. An additional $15.50 is added to the $34 should you choose to appear for the writing test. The fee for the writing test is refundable should you not want to appear for it provided you inform the testing authorities about the same in writing before you appear for the test. Another difference between the ACT Vs SAT is that there is no penalty or negative marking in the ACT like there is a deduction of 1/4th point for a wrong answer on the SAT. To read more information about the SAT visit and for the ACT visit


The SAT has three sections while the ACT has four sections. The ACT has a science section while the SAT does not. It also has a Writing section, however it is optional and the test taker can choose to complete it if they want. It is however recommended that you complete the writing section as the score is reported separately. The Math section in the SAT does not cover the concept of trigonometry whereas the ACT does. Also the questions in the SAT keep becoming difficult as the test progresses where as the level of difficulty remains the same throughout the ACT test. It is also believed that the questions in the ACT test are easier than those of the SAT on account of the former having questions that are more straightforward and easier to understand making the ACT a relatively easier test between ACT Vs SAT.

Choosing between the SAT and the ACT is purely about what your strengths are and what you intend to study in college. It also depends on the time of year you have decided to appear for the test and the availability of the respective tests. A careful comparison between the two tests should help you decide between the ACT Vs SAT.


The SAT test provides test takers with a scaled score depending upon the scores they receive in the three sections of the test (Critical reading, Math, Writing). Scores are allotted on a scale of 200-800 points. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1–36 points after calculating the average score you achieve in the four sections of the test (English, Math, Reading and Science) and is called a composite ACT score. You also receive sub-scores for each paper which help you evaluate your performance. However, it is the composite ACT score that is considered when making college applications. Also the ACT does not have any penalty for wrong answers whereas the SAT deducts ¼ point. Understanding about the scoring practices between the ACT Vs SAT will help you understand both the tests well.

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