ACT vs SAT - which is better?

ACT vs SAT – which is better?
Undergraduate Tests & Applications

ACT vs SAT – which is better?


While SAT VS ACT is an on-going debate, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Both vary considerably in their in structure and syllabus. You must ultimately opt for format you feel more comfortable with.

Let’s examine two in detail and look at the main differences: ACT vs SAT

1. While SAT is an aptitude test, ACT is a curriculum-based exam. Consistently good academic performers would prefer ACT as it would be on the lines of the tests they have been taking in their schools. SAT, on the other hand, would appeal to the aspirants who have good reasoning skills and thrive on challenges.

2. ACT has a wider syllabus that includes Math, English, Reading, Science and an optional writing test whereas SAT involves Mathematics, critical reasoning and a written English test only.

3. When it comes to predictability, difficulty and understanding the questions, ACT is easier to comprehend in the very first glance while SAT questions may not be straight forward and require some brain racking.

4. If you are not the one who burnt the midnight oil mastering your concepts in science, you are better off taking SAT as ACT has a mandatory science section.

5. Both SAT and ACT have math sections, but, again, there is a difference. ACT includes complex concepts. You will be given a formula booklet along with the ACT test paper, which is not in the case of SAT. Extensive syllabus does not imply that ACT math is tougher than SAT. In fact ACT math questions are more direct and clear-cut as compared to SAT.

6. The writing test in ACT is optional, but SAT has made it obligatory. While taking ACT, one has the flexibility to take or not take the writing test depending on the stipulation of the college one is applying to. The final score, however, will not include the evaluation of the writing test and appear as a separate component for the schools to see, if required.

7. Blind guessing does not work as far as SAT is concerned as one is penalized for a wrong answer. However, when it comes to ACT, there is no negative marking.

8. ACT may look like more structured in terms of the way test papers are designed .The flow of the SAT paper may necessitate you to move from the math section to writing to critical reasoning and again come back to math. This may leave you slightly baffled if you are looking for an orderly layout, whereas ACT has more predictable format.

9. If you are a walking lexicon and love vocabulary, SAT is going to excite you for sure. If vocabulary is not your cup of tea at all, ACT is a better fit.

10. ACT requires you to memorize content and, therefore, necessitates a strong memory recall. SAT, on the other hand, requires you to be able to think on your feet and crack the test strategies.

ACT presents a holistic picture of your capabilities and SAT gives an insight into your individual strengths. Deciding between the two has got more to do with your individual fortes and inclinations as both carry the same weightage of the considerations the admission committee takes into account.

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