Colleges may prefer one or the other. However, if the school doesn’t specify, making the “best” choice doesn’t have to be difficult. Although there is no science that proves that the ACT or SAT is easier, you probably want to determine which test format is better suited to your strengths. Each test has different emphases and familiarity with their individual structures may help you sort out which is better suited to you.

Take a look at the following comparison of the ACT and SAT to help you decide.

Test Preparation for the ACT

The ACT has four multiple-choice subject tests covering English, Math, Reading, and Science. These are designed to evaluate your overall educational development and your ability to complete college-level work. You’ll have 2 hours and 55 minutes of dedicated test time to complete the subject tests, not including breaks. As far as scoring goes, your subject test scores (ranging from 1 to 36) are determined after throwing out any incorrect answers — only correct responses count! The four areas are then averaged together to come up with your overall, or composite, score. The ACT also includes an optional 30-minute writing test designed to measure your skill in planning and writing a short essay. This segment is your chance to highlight your writing skills! If you opt to take it, the additional scores will be reported, along with comments about your essay. These scores are reported separately. So, if writing is a weak area, you might want to take the ACT and skip the writing section, since it’s currently optional (although some schools require it).

New SAT Guidelines will be in affect Spring 2016!

To review the New SAT Guidelines and Test Format, please click here.

ACT or SAT: It all depends on you

When viewing a comparison of the ACT and SAT, the vast majority of students perform comparably on both tests. If the colleges you’re interested in accept scores from either test, you may want to consider taking both admissions tests. Each one tests you in a different way, so you might opt to take both to see which one you perform better on. However, if you’re short on time and money and want to put your efforts towards test prep for only one of the tests, your best bet is to take a few practice exams. There are free and low-cost practice exams available electronically and in-print. The College Board has some test prep options on their site, such as the “SAT Question of the Day” option that students can sign up for. In addition, Petersons and YourPlanForTheFuture have additional information on preparing for the SAT.

COMPARE SAT and ACT Scores with this handy score comparison chart!

To register for the SAT, please click here. Be sure to sign up for the “SAT Question of the Day” service so that you can begin  your SAT prep right away!

To register for the ACT, please click here. Be sure to check out the “ACT Question of the Day” so that you can begin  your test prep right away!

Although many colleges require students to take either the SAT or ACT, PLEASE NOTE that there are OVER 800 colleges in the United States that are “TEST OPTIONAL”, which means that they do not require a student to submit standardized test scores. Please visit FAIRTEST to view the complete list of colleges in the U.S. A. that do NOT require standardized tests.

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