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SAT vs ACT
The first decision leading to College admission and scholarships
SAT ACT Comparisons and Initial Strategies
sat
  • Measures “developed reasoning”.
  • 3 hr. 50 min, optional essay
  • 10 sections
  • “Good test takers' test”
  • “Tricky”
  • Has an experimental section (does not affect score, hard to detect)
  • Starts easy, gets harder, except reading passages.
  • Highest sub score usually taken “superscore”
  • Multiple choice except essay and 10 of 54 math questions (student produced)
  • No science, or Trig, Reading passages vary, taken from humanities, Social Studies, and Science; there is no seperate science section on the SAT
  • Eliminate as many wrong answers as possible, then guess; no penalty for guessing
  • Know test structure and directions, should be the same
  • 2 main sections: Math, and Evidence-based Reading. The Writing with non-optional essay may not be a factor. Several exceptions.
  • Approximately one-third of the math test does not allow a calculator.
act
  • Test maker says, “Based closer to curriculum content.”
  • 2 hr. 55 min plus 50 minute optional essay
  • 4 sections (composite average)
  • “Good students test”
  • “Hard”
  • No experimental sections, uses individual questions to set norms
  • No particular order of difficulty within sections
  • Highest composite score used with multiple attempts. Exception NCAA, others may accept “superscore”.
  • 4 main sections: Multiple choice with optional essay, Each composite section varies in length still but 25%
  • Reading has no sentence completion. Passages specifically from Prose Fiction, Humanities, Social Studies, Natural Science
  • Eliminate as many wrong answers as possible, then guess, no penalty for guessing
  • Know test structure and directions, should be the same
  • Average of 4 main sections: Math, English, Reading and Science (composite score). Optional essay provides a separate writing and essay score. “Composite score” used more
  • Calculator allowed for all of math section