Difference Between ACT and SATs

Find out Which One to Take: The ACT or SATs

While preparing for college, students are required to complete an entrance exam of either the SAT or ACT. It is up to the college that they wish to attend to determine which score they will accept, and some may accept scores from either test. Typically the test that is completed is usually a regional thing; Upper Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Minnesota accept the ACT, while states on the East Coast typically want an SAT exam. It is important to know the difference between the two tests in order to ensure you complete the right one.

ACT Basics

The ACT covers subjects in the field of English, reading, science, math, and writing. It only counts correct answers, and wrong answers are not counted against the student. This test is offered during two fall months (September and October), two winter months (December and February), and two spring months (April and June). It is only offered and English and is a timed exam, although students with disabilities may receive time extensions. The highest possible score for the ACT is 36, while the national average is around 21.

SAT Basics

The SAT is a test that focuses on inherent abilities rather than knowledge. Writing, math, and reading are the subjects covered in this test, and it awards one point for right answers and deducts .25 points for wrong answers. This is thought to be to prevent random guessing. SAT tests can be completed from October-January or April-June. Like the ACT, this test is timed but also provides additional time for students with disabilities. The highest possible score for an SAT is 2400, with the average national score being right around 1500.

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