ACT vs SAT: Which One Should You Take?
It's finally that time: the moment when you get to take the ACT or the SAT to qualify for the college of your dreams. This is a big step in your academic career, and you want to make sure that it's done right the first time.
That being said, you want to make sure you take the test that works best for you.
The ACT vs SAT each has the pros and cons, but for most students, one test is always better to take than the other. The thing is, which one would be better for you to take?
Thankfully, there are ways to find out which test plays to your strengths and will show your abilities to their highest potential.
The ACT vs SAT: Which One Is Right for You?
Should you take the ACT, the SAT, or both? This article will help you to figure out which test would be best for you to take. Keep reading to find out more.
Length of Time for Testing
When it comes to how long each test takes to complete, the ACT and the SAT are pretty much neck and neck, with the SAT taking a solid 5 minutes longer without an essay and 15 minutes longer with the essay.
When you break it down by departments, the ACT takes 10 more minutes on the English category, the SAT takes 20 minutes longer on Math, and the SAT also takes 30 minutes longer on reading (because reading does matter).
Both the ACT and the SAT have sections in the English, Math, and Reading departments. However, only one test has the extra category of Science: the ACT.
The ACT has always been known as the more Math and Science-based test out of the two, and the fact that the SAT doesn't offer science questions only sums this argument up.
If you have a strong grasp of high school science, or if you plan on majoring in a science field at a college, then the ACT is definitely your best bet.
Like with the timing of the tests, the cost of each test doesn't really change much between the two. In any case, the SAT is slightly more than the ACT.
And we do mean slightly: the SAT is $47.50 without the essay and $64.50 with the essay included. By contrast, the ACT is $46.00 without writing and $62.50 with writing.
Time per Question
The ACT has more multiple choice options and less time in each category compared to the SAT. With that in mind, it only makes sense that they ACT gives you less time to answer each question than the SAT.
This is fine if you're great with speeding through your answers (correctly). However, most people need time to sort through the options and choose the best fit, and that's something the ACT just doesn't give you.
If you want to have more time to answer each question, then you need to go for the SAT.
To Have or Not Have a Calculator?
Both tests offer a Math portion, but they both carry it out differently.
With the ACT, not only is the Math section shorter, but you're allowed to use a calculator while you work through that category. By contrast, the SAT has a longer Math section and you aren't allowed to use a calculator the entire time.
If you're someone who struggles with doing Math in the head (or at all) then the ACT would be the way to go. However, if you feel confident in your Math skills, you'd be better off taking on the SAT.
Doing Math Their Way
Since we're on the subject of Math, we need to also recognize that the actual presentation of Math is also done differently.
For starters, the SAT is all about reference guides, and it provides you with a diagram of Math formulas (specifically Geometry). The ACT, however, doesn't do this.
This means that before you walk into the ACT testing center, you have to have all of your formulas memorized beforehand. They don't give you any help prior to or during the test.
The SAT and ACT also test for different Math functions as well. On the ACT, the main focus is on trig functions and geometry, whereas on the SAT you will focus more on algebra and data analysis.
Finally, there's the fact that each test weighs the Math section differently. On the ACT, the Math category only counts for one-quarter of your final score. However, the SAT counts Math as a half of your total score.
The Reading Category Explained
In general, the Reading categories of both the SAT and the ACT are nearly identical in presentation and in answering. In fact, the only real difference between the two is the grade level of reading.
For the ACT, all of the Reading passages are around a 9th-grade reading level, so, for the most part, there shouldn't be anything too challenging about it.
By contrast, the SAT's Reading passages vary by each question. They could be anywhere in difficulty from early high school to early college level passages.
If you aren't too fond of reading exercises, then the ACT would be your best bet. However, if you're proficient in reading or if you plan on going into an English-based major in college, then the SAT would be a much better option.
A Society of Strength and Honor
Now that you know all about the ACT vs SAT and the benefits of taking each one, you need to know where to go in order to complete your college preparations. Luckily, we're here to help you with that.
The Honor Society has long stood for the highest standard of academic excellence, and we're proud to support students who showcase these feats.
We offer many scholarships, as well as a number of member plans and reward systems, all to celebrate the academic achievements of qualified students.
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