Check out this great article written by: Peggy Stabile of Pegasus2edu.

Years ago there was no real choice involved in which standardized test a student should take for college admissions.  Schools in the northeast and on the east and west coasts required the SAT while those in the mid-west and south preferred the ACT.  In today’s world, though, almost all colleges and universities will accept either test.  Students should double check with the campuses to which they apply, though, just to be on the safe side!

When making a decision between the two tests, keep in mind the differences in structure and content of each exam. The tests have distinct qualities — the ACT is curriculum-based (English, math, reading, science and an optional writing section), while the SAT is more of an aptitude test focused on vocabulary, reading comprehension, general reasoning and problem-solving skills.

If you have a hard time staying focused for long periods, the ACT may be the test for you. It’s shorter, generally more straightforward and there are more knowledge-based questions. English and math are a part of both tests, but the content and orientation is different.

The SAT focuses more on vocabulary and the ACT concentrates on grammar, punctuation and syntax. The ACT includes science and trigonometry, neither of which is found on the SAT.

Many experts recommend that you take both tests, as well as both pre-tests (the PSAT and the PLAN) if they are offered in your area.

Familiarize yourself with the format, content and structure and, then, decide what’s best for you.

Below I’ve listed some of the basic differences between the two tests.




3 hours 45 min

2 hours 55 minutes plus    30 min writing option


Critical reading, math, writing

English, math, reading, science, w/writing option


each subtest range is


each subtest range is



1/4 point per wrong answer

no penalty for wrong answer

DIFFICULTY LEVEL Increased per question

Random throughout test



Math Support offers free FULL-LENGTH PRACTICE TESTS for the ACT & SAT to help you decide. Contact us today to schedule a free practice test.