ACT vs SAT What is the Key Difference?

America is one of the top destinations to study. A lot of students worldwide plan on continuing the study there. One of the requirements is to successfully take the SAT or ACT tests. Previously, these two tests were mainly differentiated by the regional locations of the campuses and universities: those on the east and west coasts of the country preferred the SAT, while the ones on the south chose the ACT. However, as more states require the students to take the ACT, in 2016 the SAT has been edited to take after some of the testing styles of the ACT.

One of the most noticeable change in the SAT test is that wrong answer does not result in score reduction anymore. This makes the test more similar to the ACT. Not only that, the SAT has integrated more chart and graph interpreting types of questions throughout the sections in exchange for the absence of the ACT Science sections.

Despite the recent similarities, the SAT still stays true to some of its characteristics. The time alloted for the test and the total number of questions, for example. The SAT test takers have three hours to finish 154 questions. Meanwhile, the ACT only provides 2 hours 55 minutes to answer 215 questions. The periods of time provided to complete the essay are also different. The SAT gives 50 minutes and the ACT 40 minutes.

When it comes to reading comprehension sections, the test takers are given two distinct choices, as well: whether to deal with the SAT questions that have chronological answers and are arranged based on its levels of difficulty or with ACT questions and answers that come randomly. Surely, the orderly arrangement may seem like a huge benefit, but considering that the SAT reading comprehension questions are in the form of two part questions, in which the answers are related, and the fact that these comprehension questions are inclined to ask for details supporting your previous answer, some might decide to try to take on the ACT randomly arranged, yet more standard comprehension questions.

Apart from that, the Math sections also offer different challenges. The use of a calculator in the ACT test is valid for all questions, while in the other test, there is one section of the math test that must be done without using the calculator. However, in spite of the non-absolute use of calculator, the problem solving formulas are provided in the SAT math test. In this case, students who can count well and are not dependant on calculators might favour the Math support of the SAT test.

Aside from those differences, the tests are practically identical. The material tested is the same. The formatting is basically the same. They both test your knowledge of math, English grammar, and reading comprehension. And they both accomplish the same exact same goal: giving admissions officers to save time by tossing your application in the trash if your scores aren’t high enough before they ever look at it.

Therefore, the key to succeed in either one of the tests goes back to choosing the one test that suits your skills better. If you are a student with mediocre reading and counting skills, but someone who fancies Science, the ACT may be the better option for you. On the other hand, should you have good memory and reasoning skills, but tend to need a lot of time to finish a test, the SAT may seem more promising for you.