ACT versus SAT

Most U.S. college require you take either the SAT or the ACT examination to apply.  What’s the difference between the two? has a succinct explanation of some of the major differences:

The SAT is considered a reasoning-based test, requiring critical thinking and problem-solving. … The ACT is a curriculum-based test, and strong students may find they do better on the ACT, which is more closely aligned with what they have learned in school.

The pacing is also different on the two exams. The ACT has fewer sections, but each one is longer.

Make sure you also check out the growing list of schools will allow you to apply without having taken either exam.

One comment

  1. I find it interesting how people view these two tests. When I applied for university, back in 1994, there was no question – these tests were mandatory. I did better on the ACT than the SAT. I took the ACT twice. I liked the ACT better. I liked that I could guess on the ACT and no be penalized. I did not like that the SAT had many small sections that jumped around a lot. I did not like that I was penalized for questions I got wrong. Of course, now that the scope has shifted from a 1600 grade scale to a 2400 grade scale, things may even be more crazy. One thing is for sure: I had to do my homework, understand the test layout, and understand how the test graded my answers. While many people question if these tests are valid and assist universities in making good applicant choices, I find that the test was a good dry-run on how life is. I had to learn about what I was doing. I had to research it, and then practice. How is this a bad thing? I am not talking about the results, mind you. I am talking about the course of events leading up to me actually taking the test. I think our students today have become a bunch of whiners, and the universities are bowing to this. While the test results may or may not be an indicator for the university – I am not arguing that in this forum – the commitment and endurance to complete the task speaks volumes. If the student does well on the test, that may be a whole other characteristic of achievement. Buck up gang! Geez. Take the damn tests. These tests won’t be the last time you have to do something you don’t like!

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