Campare ACT and SAT


Every year million of student take ACT or SAT to gain admission into their desired universities and colleges.Along with several confusion and questions one question that create confusion is which test to take SAT or ACT or both.Well one shouldn’t put stress about because majority of student deliver similar performance on both test and colleges accept scores from either test.First we will discuss the difference and then we’ll discuss how to choose the right option.


Perhaps the most notable difference between sat and act is their testing philosophy.The ACT test focuses on subjects and skills taught in high school . ACT is considered a curriculum-based test.on the other hand SAT tests “innate ability” the ability of problem solving using tricky and confusing phrasing to determine your test-taking skills (i.e., your performance under pressure and your ability to identify what’s being asked).This difference in philosophy contribute to completely different pattern of questions.In a nutshell the answer to act vs sat is “knowledge vs reasoning”. While it is generally true that the ACT is a less deliberately tricky test than the SAT, it is not necessarily easier — the pitfalls are simply different.


The SAT questions test reasoning and problem-solving ability; the ACT questions are much more straightforward and test your knowledge of high school work.

Subject Matter

The SAT covers mathematics, critical reading and writing. The ACT covers English, mathematics, reading and science. The ACT mathematics section includes a few trigonometry questions which the SAT does not. But the SAT has one math section which is not multiple choice – i.e. you have to actually calculate the answer. The English sections of the SAT put greater importance on a good vocabulary while the ACT focuses on grammar and punctuation. The essay is not optional for the SAT, so if you have poor writing skills and the colleges you are considering do not require the essay, opt for the ACT.

Number of Questions

SAT has only 140 questions compared to the 215 on the ACT.

Differences In Content

• The SAT puts more emphasis on vocabulary; the ACT is largely focused on grammar and punctuation.

• The ACT has a Science Reasoning Test, which tests the the student’s ability to access scientific charts and tables, research, and conflicting scientific viewpoints – whereas the SAT does not.

• The ACT covers four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The SAT contains three sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing, including a required 25-minute essay. Writing is not required on the ACT, but strongly recommended.

• In the ACT Math section, about 7 percent of questions are based on trigonometry, which is not tested on the SAT.

Differences In Structure

• The ACT has all multiple choice questions, whereas the SAT also requires students to produce answers to mathematical questions.

• Questions on the SAT become more difficult as the test progresses; the level of difficulty remains fairly constant on the ACT.

• The ACT has 215 questions and the SAT has 140 – however, both are three hours long. Which means students have less average time to answer ACT questions.

Differences In Scoring

A student taking the ACT can earn a maximum of 36 points on each section, which the ACT then averages for a composite score. On the SAT, students earn a maximum of 800 points on each of the three sections.

Differences In Strategy

• SAT takers are penalized slightly for wrong answers. The conventional wisdom is to try and eliminate one or two answers and then make the best guess from the remaining choices.

• ACT test takers are not penalized for wrong answers. Before time runs out, students should guess on any questions they didn’t know or were unsure about. But like the SAT strategy, it make sense to eliminate as many choices as possible before making a final section.

• The SAT is riddled with questions designed to slow the test taker down. Professional test strategists like the Princeton Review recommend moving on to the easier questions and coming back to the harder ones.

The Essay

There are two differences between the SAT and the ACT essay. First, students have 30 minutes to complete the ACT essay as opposed to 25 minutes for the SAT essay. While this may seem like a minor difference, in reality it affords many students the chance to write a full conclusion and develop all of their points more fully.

Second, ACT essay questions tend to be more specific and concrete than SAT essay questions. While the SAT asks students to reflect on abstract ideas or moral values such as the value of community or the nature of heroism, ACT questions often focus on the kind of issues that high school students are likely to encounter, e.g. “Should schools implement a dress code,” or “Should students be required to maintain a C average in order to obtain their driver’s license?” Students are therefore automatically limited in their use of evidence, whereas SAT students can support their arguments with virtually any literary work or historical event.

Reading Comprehension

In general, the biggest hurdle that ACT-takers face on the Reading Comprehension section is speed.Unlike the SAT Critical Reading, where passage lengths are varied, each ACT Reading passage contains approximately 75-100 lines (the equivalent of an SAT long passage) and is accompanied by 10 questions. And unlike SAT questions, which are placed in chronological order of the passage, ACT questions are ordered randomly. The first question, for example, may concern information mentioned in line 65. In addition, questions often do not include line numbers, a technique that often forces students to spend significant amounts of time hunting through passages in search of relevant information.

In order to complete the section, students must complete each passage/question set in 8 minutes and 45 seconds — a length of time that many students find simply too short. When considering SAT vs. ACT, students should take into account the speed at which they read. Slow readers are likely to confront significant timing issues regardless of how perceptive they may be, whereas fast readers who remember facts easily are likely to find the material relatively easy to manage.

While the makers of the ACT have been trying to bring their Reading Comprehension questions more in line with the kinds of reading questions on the SAT, in general ACT questions are still more oriented toward locating specific details or facts than toward making inferences about information not explicitly stated in the passage (although there is often an inference question or two) or about the function of particular pieces of information.


The English portion tests many of the same concepts as the SAT Writing section, although the presentation most closely resembled SAT “fixing paragraphs.” Five passages are given, each with 15 questions testing both grammar and rhetoric (sentence placement, inserting or deleting relevant information, style and tone).

While many of the grammatical concepts covered overlap with those covered on the SAT (comma usage, subject-verb agreement, sentence fragments, gerunds, antecedent-pronoun agreement), the ACT does place a stronger emphasis on punctuation (colons, dashes, and apostrophes) and the use of transitions such as In addition, Although, However, Moreover, Nevertheless, etc

The above mentioned point mark the basic difference between act and sat but which test is fit for you is answered by premises of our skill and comfort rather than the discretion of college admission office.colleges treat both nearly equal answer to choice lies in how we see the test and our self .The answer to which test to take sat or act is answered in the next article.


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