Contrast Between ACT And PSAT

ACT or PSAT-Which One Is Better?

The ACT and the PSAT:

ACT is one of the America’s most popular exams which evaluate the high school students’ capability and academic experience to handle college-level courses. It includes questions which analyze test-takers’ knowledge in English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. There is one optional Writing section, which seeks to test your writing skills in a short essay. On the other hand, the PSAT is a standardized test which examines test-takers’ knowledge in Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills. It is a test which helps test-takers to prepare for SAT and also be eligible for National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) programs. Both the examinations are significant in a student’s life.

These tests have some similarities with a huge list of differences. Both the tests are competitive and challenging. They both contain multiple-choice questions and they both test your skills in vocabulary and mathematics. However, the similarities end there as both the test are different in their own ways and are meant to serve different purposes.

How Do the PSAT and ACT Differ?

These tests have different purposes to serve. While the ACT is necessary for admission in colleges, the PSAT merely lets a test-taker have a primary experience of SAT. Moreover, high PSAT scores make a test-taker eligible for the competition for scholarships. If an individual scores more than the cut-off marks of his respective state, he may stand a chance to win a scholarship. On the other hand, the ACT has no such provisions and the students take it only to apply into colleges. Following points bring out more differences between the two tests.

  • In the PSAT there is no Science section. However, ACT has a Science section.
  • The Mathematics section of ACT, unlike PSAT has Trigonometry in it.
  • The PSAT lays an extra stress on test-takers’ vocabulary. The test-takers might find the ACT vocabulary easier.
  • The ACT comprises entirely of multiple-choice questions. The PSAT, in addition to multiple-choice questions, has questions based on student-produced responses.
  • In the PSAT, a test-taker is penalized for guessing wrong answers. However, the ACT does not penalize you for guessing wrong answers.
  • The PSAT does not test your English Grammar particularly. The ACT specifically evaluates your knowledge of English Grammar.
  • The PSAT is administered only twice a year in October, while the ACT has more testing dates.

These are some basic differences to show how these tests vary among each other. The pertinent question that might crop up now is which test is better?

PSAT or ACT, Which Exam Should You Choose?

These tests have both been in demand by the students in the last few years. Previously, ACT was only required in Midwest colleges of US while SAT (after you take PSAT) was preferred by the colleges in both the coasts and the Northeast of US. However, in recent times, if funding is not a factor, the students take both the tests as the colleges accept both these scores.

The ACT is more favored by students who are good in science and mathematics. It is a known fact that 50% of this test contains Mathematics section which even includes Trigonometry. In addition, there is one Science section. When it comes to PSAT, it is favored by those who are inclined towards vocabulary and English Grammar. It only contains 25% of mathematics and is more prone to vocabulary. Therefore, these tests attract variable students.

Finally, you should take the PSAT in case you want to enter the steep competition of national scholarships. If your score crosses the cut-off score of your respective state and you score high enough to become a commended student, you might let go off the tension of high cost of college courses. Moreover, this test gives you an idea of the SAT and your level of readiness for the same. The ACT does not provide you any scholarships and neither does it prepare you for particular tests in future.