The ACT is more time-bound having more questions in a similar timeframe as the SAT.
The ACT covers more math topics with a larger focus on Geometry and Trigonometry. SAT, however, focuses more in-depth on Algebra.
Although the SAT incorporates science questions throughout the exam, it does not have an independent science section. ACT has a whole section dedicated to science only.
There is not much difference in this section as both the ACT and SAT have this section that assesses grammar skills.
SAT Reading has evidence-support reading questions that test reasoning ability and is considered to have a higher language level and more difficult reading passages than ACT.
Only the ACT offers an optional essay writing portion.
Taking both the SAT practice test and ACT practice test will help you decide which exam is best suited for you. If you are taking the ACT and you are a strong writer, it is advisable to complete the optional essay because it can demonstrate your competency in writing. It will also display another dimension of your college worthiness and may differentiate you from the other applicants.
Both tests are equally accepted by colleges and there is no preference for one over the other. Since both tests basically assess the same skill sets and aptitudes, your test scores will have a lot to say about your skills. So make sure that you take the test which will maximize your chances for admission.
Different schools have different admissions policies and there is no general way of tracking how and what scores they set as a bar for their requirements. However, you have two options on which scores to submit:
- Score Choice Option – If you feel like you can do better, you can retake the test and choose the best score to submit.
- Super Scoring – After taking the test multiple times, you can choose your best scores from each section and combine them to come up with an aggregate top score.
Please check the admissions website of the school you are applying for to see which of the two options are applicable.
Both tests offer accommodations for students with learning differences through extended time to take the test, testing over multiple days, typing instead of hand-writing the optional essay, an assistant to read questions out loud, or a specific seating arrangement.
To decide which test to take, we recommend taking both diagnostic tests with us and speak with a managing consultant for recommendations.
While most colleges are adhering to the test-optional policy, submitting SAT and ACT test scores may still give you merit and admissions advantage. Your chances of qualifying for admission will depend on how well you distinguish yourself from other applicants. So unless you have an otherwise perfect application (stellar GPA and outstanding extracurricular activities), a good standardized test score will, in most cases, be a net positive for your college application.
The duration of preparing for the ACT and SAT varies from 3 months or longer than a year depending on the students’ needs, where they are coming from, and what they hope to achieve with their scores. For students who need more focus and attention, taking test prep classes in a group setting might not be the best option because it will be difficult for the students to receive on-the-spot feedback and individualized attention.
Cardinal Education’s college test prep program is a one-on-one class that is highly individualized to cater to the specific needs of each student. We place a lot of emphasis on establishing rapport between our coaches and students. We believe that a child has the best chance to succeed if a good relationship exists between him/her and the coach.
Our test prep program focuses on the ACT and SAT standardized tests and helps students develop the requisite knowledge and skills to succeed, and we do not stop until we get the score we are aiming for.
Time is critical when preparing for these tests and it is better to start preparing early. It is important to find out the student’s key strengths and weaknesses to identify the areas that require attention. Seeking the services of a professional is also important in order to receive expert advice and undergo a program that is fit for the student’s needs.
Cardinal Education offers a rigorous college test prep program that helps students achieve impressive test scores. Our program emphasizes the importance of a confident test-taking mindset while guiding students through a very difficult and challenging process. We cultivate confidence through our specialized strategy, frequent practice tests, and positive reinforcement. We also offer individualized SAT and ACT Tutoring.
Our dedication to making a difference for our students is unparalleled, and we help students build confidence and earn superior outcomes while making the whole process fun and enjoyable!
Yes, however, we do not recommend our students to take these tests more than three times. Start preparing early and do plenty of practice tests. Cardinal Education offers complimentary diagnostic test consultations to pinpoint areas of weaknesses and provide a comprehensive individualized plan for approaching the ACT and SAT. We advice that you take the tests only when you are ready and confident that you will do well.