ACT vs SAT
The difference between ACT and SAT can be discussed under different aspects starting from the components that are tested in each. The acronyms SAT and ACT may sound alien to those who are not going in for higher studies, but ask those who are applying for admission into various colleges and Universities in graduate and post graduate degree level courses, and you will realize the significance of these standardized college admission tests. The scores obtained in these two tests often decide whether a student will get admission in a particular college or university or not. Students remain confused as to whether they should take SAT or ACT, or both. This article attempts to clarify the differences between SAT and ACT to enable those desirous of higher studies, to choose the test that suits their requirements.
Just a few decades ago, students desirous of admissions in colleges in Midwest part of America underwent ACT while colleges on the eastern and western coast preferred SAT scores. Students knew this, and it was not an issue to select SAT or ACT then. But, with passage of time, colleges in all parts of the country have started to accept scores in both SAT and ACT implying a freedom on the part of students as to take any of the two tests. In fact, increased acceptance of ACT has been beneficial to students.
It is a known fact that SAT and ACT are two different tests measuring different skill sets of students. A student knows his strengths and weaknesses, and thus, he can decide the test in which he can score better than the other. There are many who take both, and send the scores of the test in which they perform better to colleges for admission purpose. But, for those who cannot afford to take both the tests, below is an explanation highlighting the difference between the two tests.
What is ACT?
ACT stands for American College Testing. This exam is conducted by ACT Incorporated. If you ask those people who are looking after the admission procedure, they will confirm you that ACT is a content based test. That means, it tests what knowledge you have gathered during your high school. ACT has up to five components. They are English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and optional writing test. ACT includes scientific reasoning section. In this section, your reading ability, as well as reasoning skills, is tested. ACT is a totally multiple choice test and lasts for 3 hours and 25 minutes. When it comes to marking, ACT does not deduct marks for wrong answers.
This is a test that is offered worldwide. In US and Canada, the test is offered six times a year. In other countries, this test is offered five times a year. Online test is not available as this is a paper based test. When it comes to cost, without the writing part in US, it costs US$ 35. With the writing part, it costs US$ 54.50. For other countries, you have to pay US$ 37 in addition to the fee already mentioned. You can practice for the exam by taking practice test online at ACT website.
What is SAT?
SAT stands for SAT Reasoning Test. Educational Testing System (ETS) conducts the test. SAT has three components. They are Critical Reading, Mathematics, and a mandatory writing test. SAT is a paper based test only and lasts for three hours and forty-five minutes. Online test is not available for SAT.
SAT is not a completely multiple choice test. It is a combination of multiple choices and student responses. For example, there is an essay which you have to write. There are other parts too where you have to provide your own answer as there are no multiple choices to choose from. Further, SAT measures problem solving and critical thinking abilities of students. Therefore, if you are really good with science, then go for SAT. Also, SAT is known more for its emphasis on vocabulary. So, if you are really good with words, SAT should be your choice. But, you have to careful because you are negatively marked when you guess an answer wrong in SAT.
This SAT exam is offered seven times a year. The cost is from US$ 52.50 to US$ 94.50 depending on the country as this is also available worldwide. You can take practice tests online at the SAT website.
What is the difference between ACT and SAT?
• ACT measures the knowledge of the student.
• SAT is designed to check on the reasoning and verbal abilities of the student.
• ACT has up to five components. They are English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and optional writing test.
• SAT has only three such components. They are Critical Reading, Mathematics, and a mandatory writing test.
• Vocabulary and Grammar:
• ACT stresses on grammar and punctuation.
• SAT places emphasis on vocabulary.
• Mathematics Section:
• Apart from the basic arithmetic, algebra i and ii, as well as geometry, there are some questions on trigonometry in the math section, in ACT.
• Trigonometry is not included in the SAT.
• Difficulty Level:
• Level of difficulty remains constant in ACT.
• When it comes to the difficulty level in SAT, questions become progressively difficult in SAT.
• Number of Questions:
• There are 215 questions in ACT.
• In SAT, there are 171 questions.
• Negative Marking:
• There is no negative marking in ACT.
• In SAT, marks are deducted for giving wrong answers.
The thing to remember is that though ACT and SAT test different skills, they are important in allowing educators to assess abilities of students. However, whether SAT or ACT, it is just one of the factors that are considered while taking a decision on the candidature of a student for a degree level course in a college.