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Should I take the SAT or ACT?

One of the most frequently asked questions at Top Test Prep is whether a student should take the SAT or ACT.

To answer this question, here are the differences between the SAT and ACT, and reasons why you should take one versus the other:

About the SAT:

The SAT is administered 7 times per year.

The SAT includes three critical reading sections, three math sections, three writing sections and one experimental section.

The SAT math section goes up to basic geometry and algebra II.

There is no science section on the SAT.

The SAT reading section includes sentence completions, short and long critical reading passages, and reading comprehension sections.

There is a penalty for wrong answers!

The highest combined score on the SAT is 2400, and the highest per section for the SAT is 800, including math, reading and writing.

Unless you’re enrolled in the SAT’s “Score Choice,” all of your scores will be reported to colleges.

About the ACT:

The ACT is administered 6 times per year.

The ACT includes four sections, including English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, and an optional writing test.

The ACT math goes no higher than trigonometry.

The ACT science section includes charts and experiments (theoretically, you don’t need a strong science core base before taking the test)

The ACT reading section includes four passages total.

The ACT English focuses on grammar and the ACT writing essay is similar to most standardized tests including the SAT’s essay prompt.

There is no penalty for wrong answers!

The highest combined score on the ACT is 36, and they’re averaged together for a composite score.

You can decide which schools receive your ACT scores.
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In general, we recommend taking the ACT exam over the SAT exam if your approach to problems is more straightforward. The ACT math and other sections are drier compared to the SAT, which requires a bit more reasoning and analysis. However, our SAT tutors know exactly how to give you in-depth strategies for the SAT test, as it does require more analytical thinking. Also, if you do better in school generally without having to work as hard, we always recommend taking the ACT.

We recommend taking the SAT versus the ACT exam if you have fewer issues with time management. The ACT exam requires more endurance, as students are required to do up to 60 questions in a short amount of time. Our ACT tutors can help you better understand the exam, and ways you can prepare.

If you’re unsure whether you should take either or both, you should take both tests. Your scores will likely be similar according to concordance table.

If you need help with SAT prep or ACT prep, give Top Test Prep a call at (800) 501-7737 and we’ll help you improve your scores.

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