Having trouble deciding whether the SAT or ACT will measure your skills better? Not to worry—with our handy, comprehensive comparison, you’ll have no trouble seeing the pros and cons of each. Below, a brief overview of the SAT will help you determine if this is the best test for you.
General: The SAT is 3 hours without the essay, and 3 hours, 50 minutes with the essay. The test structure is as follows: Reading, Writing & Language, Math, Essay (Optional).
Differences From The ACT: At A Glance
Section 1: Reading
Section 2: Writing and Language
Section 3: Math
Section 4: Optional Essay
The SAT might be the right choice if you:
1. Have strong math skills.
If you don’t always need a calculator, and you want more time to solve problems, you’ll do better on the SAT, as one section is calculator-optional.
2. Don’t have strong science skills.
The SAT does not include a Science section, unlike the ACT.
3. Have strong grammar skills.
Although the Writing and Language section on the SAT is much shorter than the ACT, this means that on the SAT, each wrong question counts more. As a result, if you’re confident in your knowledge of grammar, you’re better off on the SAT. On the ACT, there is more leeway.
4. Don’t have strong reading skills.
If the Reading section isn’t your favorite, the SAT might be better, as it gives you one more passage and more minutes per passage to solve questions. That means more room for wrong answers that don’t affect your score as significantly, and more time to figure out the passage.
5. Are comfortable with evidence-based essay writing derived from a source text, and know the sort of rhetorical terminology that’s found in AP English and AP Language classes.
Unlike the ACT, the SAT forbids you to provide your own opinion in the optional essay portion. You’ll be given an article and asked to identify how the author built their argument. The SAT wants to see you identify specific rhetorical devices, such as logos, tone, and diction. These terms are commonly covered in advanced English classes. If you have practice writing this type of essay, this may be the better evaluation of your skills.