SAT or ACT?
The SAT was originally designed to test aptitude, reasoning and verbal abilities while the ACT was designed as an achievement test and covered material learned in school. Over the past several years, changes have been made to both tests. In March of 2016, the College Board announced a redesign of the SAT which: Simplified the test removing trick questions and obscure vocabulary; Streamlined the structure by having just one section for each type of question (2 sections for math); Eliminated wrong answer penalty to discourage guessing and cut down on testing strategies; Redesigned the writing section so all questions are presented in context; and introduced math problems that look more like the math done in school. As a result of these changes, the SAT today more closely resembles is rival the ACT.
Contain similar sections: Reading, Math, English, in a predetermined order, with each section appearing just once; offer an optional essay section whose score does not count toward your total score; use rights-only scoring, no penalty for incorrect answers; and contain entirely passage-based Reading and English/Writing questions (called English on the ACT and Writing, on the SAT)
Which test is the right test?
For Math: ACT math is only ¼ of your composite score, whereas SAT math accounts for ½ of your total score. Take the ACT if you struggle to solve math problems without a calculator; and SAT if you are good at algebra and data analysis. ACT if you enjoy Trig function, geometry and are comfortable with matrices and logs. SAT if you have trouble memorizing formulas. ACT if you prefer all multiple choice. SAT if you are comfortable answering open questions where you must supply your answer
For English: SAT if chronologically arranged questions are easier to follow. SAT if you can easily find evidence to support your answer. SAT if it is easier for you to analyze something than explain your own opinion.
For Science: ACT for strong science students ¼ of your composite score timing. SAT if you think you will struggle with having enough time to answer questions in the allotted time
A breakdown of 11 key differences between the two standardized tests are available to view here. It is advised that students take both tests before taking the full leap to prepare for one. Experts at Genesis Academy are here to guide you not only choose, but develop the skills necessary to perform your best in both tests!