SAT or ACT? Find Out Which Test is Right for You

May 30, 2018 

multiple-choice-testYou’re in high school, or you may be the parent of a student in high school. You’re looking towards future possibilities: college, graduate school, graduations, internships, careers.

Not so fast! First, there’s a test.

Actually, there are two tests. College-bound students usually take either the SAT or the ACT as part of their admissions path. The need to choose between the two can trigger several questions.

What’s the difference? Which is better? Which test should I take? Can I take both?

Where can I get some answers?

Let’s look at these questions one by one.

What’s the difference between the ACT and the SAT? The two tests are actually more alike than not. However, some differences include:

  • Time. Both tests take about 4 hours with the essay. Without the optional essay, the SAT is longer than the ACT by 5 minutes. With the essay, the SAT is 15 minutes longer. Since both tests take about the same amount of time, the duration is not a factor. However, there are actually fewer questions on the SAT, which means SAT testers get more time per question.
  • Math Support (specifically calculators and formula sheets). The SAT requires you to answer twenty questions without using a calculator. The ACT lets you use a calculator to solve any math problem. On the other hand, you will have access to a formula sheet during the SAT but not during the ACT. How well do you know your formulas? For that matter, how much do you love your calculator?
  • Science! The ACT includes a 40 question science section. Comprehending the material does not require you to be a Nobel Prize level physicist or biologist. Nevertheless, a high comfort level with graphics (tables and charts) goes a long way here. The SAT does not exclude science, but it also does not devote an entire section to it.

Which is better? Neither one is better; different tests play to different strengths.

Which test should I take? Now this is the million dollar question! You need time and good advice to pick the test that best showcases your knowledge and abilities. Taking a practice proctored test (or two) is a good way to start. At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, we administer these tests at no charge. During the school year, we test on the weekends. Once summer is here, we test on weekdays only. After the test, an A+ director will review your individualized score report(s) with you in order give you the information you need to make an informed test preparation decision.


Can I take both tests? Yes. Many of our students attempt both tests. However, we recommend focusing your test preparation on one test or the other. An A+ director will help you create a testing plan that makes the most sense for your specific needs. In addition, as the tutoring program progresses, we can always adjust the program if changes are needed.

At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our focus is always on you. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.



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A+ Test Prep and Tutoring -- Montgomeryville

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