Should You Take the ACT or SAT?

In preparing for college, you likely want to take on anything and everything that comes your way. After all, you want to show colleges how serious you are about succeeding at the next level, right? While that’s well and good, there’s one important thing that too many students forget about: the judicious use of their time. It helps to excel at a few things rather than do just “okay” at a lot of them. And, in splitting up your attention to either the ACT or the SAT, you’ll be able to focus on mastering one particular exam. The only question is, should you take the ACT or SAT?

How to Select the ACT or SAT

Both the ACT and SAT are popular college entrance exams, and performing well on either one will provide an understandable boost to your chances of making it into the college of your choice. But we have to be clear—they are very different tests. As such, you should evaluate them each in kind to understand which one might best suit you.

Let’s look at a few of the key differences first:

  • Reading passages. Five on the SAT, four on the ACT.
  • Math coverage. Both cover arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. However, the ACT covers probability and statistics, while the SAT covers data analysis. Additionally, with the ACT, you can use a calculator on all math questions, whereas there are limitations for the SAT.
  • Scoring. You can score between 400-1600 for the ACT,  and between 1-36 for the ACT

In many other ways, the two tests are similar. They both take approximately 3-4 hours and feature an optional essay that can push the limits up closer to 4 hours.

If you’re prioritizing one test over the other, it’s important for you to weigh your strengths and weaknesses. Although the small differences like data analysis and probability and statistics may seem insignificant at first, they can mean the difference between those extra few points that win you more scholarships and higher chances of attending the college of your choice.

Which One is Right For You?

How do you know which one is right for you? In looking at the individual differences, you may have noticed one or two things that stick out at you. For example, you might notice that you’ll get more help from a calculator on the ACT, which is important for someone who’s come to rely on their calculator throughout their career in high school.

But it’s also important that you make a definitive choice if you don’t want to commit to both. Because it’s easier to master one test—and take plenty of practice tests that prepare you for that exam—rather than split your time into two different exams.

Study with a Professional Tutor from Jantzi Test Prep

To get more specific about whether you should take the ACT or the SAT, consider a tutor that specializes in a specific exam. We have SAT tutors and ACT tutors at Jantzi Test Prep that can help you prepare for your exam with more confidence, more skill, and the feeling of experience—even if you’ve never done it before. We look forward to studying with you!