SAT or ACT – Which one should my child take?

SAT or ACT – Which one should my child take?

1. Comparing the SAT & ACT

The SAT & ACT are both standardized tests that show colleges you have the skill, knowledge, and critical thinking ability they’re looking for. 

College admission officers have openly admitted they do not have a preference between whether students take the SAT or ACT. All colleges accept both.

Snapshot Overview
Test Format

2. More differences - SAT & ACT

Time per question

If you enjoy having more time per question & cannot work well under time crunch pressure, keep in mind the SAT gives you more time per question

Science Section

The ACT has an entire section devoted to science where the SAT does now. However, the SAT does still test scientific concepts.

You will come across questions related to scientific passages, data, and charts on the Reading, Writing, & Math sections.

Math formula diagram

The SAT provides you with a diagram of math formulas where the ACT does not. Before the SAT math subsections, you will be given a diagram that contains 12 geometry formulas and three laws

Since you don’t get the math formulas for the ACT, you will have to memorize them.

3. Should we take the SAT or ACT?

We recommend that your teen take the full-length practice test for both SAT & ACT if they are trying to decide which one to take (or both). 

After experiencing both tests, some other factors may help you decide which one you would do better one. Factors such as how you handle time pressure & which questions you find more challenging.

Some experts have mentioned that students with a stronger english ability may do better with the ACT where there is more emphasis on verbal skill. And for students who have a strong math ability, that may reflect better through the SAT.

Keep in mind that math is 1/4th of your score with the ACT & it is ½ of your score on the SAT. If math is not your strong suit, you may want to think about taking the ACT.

4. Where to sign up?

SAT Registration

To see the coming up available dates for the SAT, you can click here to visit the College Board View Dates

To find SAT testing centers around you, click here

How to register online

How & when to register by mail


ACT Registration

To sign up & see dates available for the ACT, click here


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