ACT vs SAT: Which Test is Better?

American College Test versus Scholastic Aptitude Test: two titans face off once and for all!

J/K, neither of these tests are going anywhere, so let’s take a closer look to see which is right for you. It is not a question of which test is better, it is a matter of which fits you better. These two tests are not all that different but there are key aspects to each that may sway you in one direction or the other. Princeton Review has created this easy to reference chart on what sets them apart; read on for a deeper dive into the world.

Similarities in the Tests

There are several things to consider that will help you determine which test is right for you.

First thing to note is that both tests are accepted by ALL colleges and universities in the United States. You can apply to all the same schools regardless of the test you choose to take. A few other ways they are the same:

-Both tests utilize right-only scoring, which means you score is not reduced for wrong answers.

-Both contain themes sections in a specific order and each section appear only once.

-Both are comprised of passage-based Reading and Writing questions.

*We like to point out that current norms are changing swiftly. More and more schools are adopting ‘test optional’ admissions. In fact, due to Covid, just 10% of colleges and universities required test scores last year. We recommend asserting yourself to the challenge of the test, once you know your score you can act accordingly.

Differences in the Tests

While their similarities far outweigh their differences you should pay attention to the following:

-Science Matters

The ACT contains an entire section devoted to science, whereas the SAT tests scientific concepts via a subscore of cross testing. I.E. science questions occur throughout the SAT.

-Time Matters

The SAT offers more time. Test takers on the SAT get slightly more time throughout the test, and almost 30 seconds more per math question than the ACT.

-Words Matter

SAT does not have an essay section.

-Help Matters

Sorry, the use of calculators is NOT allowed for the SAT

If you're looking for some EPIC tips... Look no further:  

Read the full blog on test taking here:

Remember, the test is about YOU!

If you are still not quite sure which is better suited for you, we suggest you take practice tests for both to see if you can find an advantage in one of them. Keep in mind, regardless of the test you choose, they are weighted the same by universities. Whichever your going for always remember... you are noteworthy & you got this!!

Back to blog