Know Which Test is Best

To get into a four year university you have to take either the ACT or the SAT. They are both standardized tests that examine what you have learned throughout your high school years.  ACT questions are often easier to understand on a first read.  They are more straight forward. On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you’re being asked, before you can start solving the problem.


The highest you can score on the SAT is a 2400. On each of the three sections Math, Critical Reading, and Writing you can score a max of 800. The SAT is more vocabulary oriented, so if you’re savvy in your words the SAT may be the test for you. It also has more sections. Critical Reading, Math and Writing are broken up into 10 sections, with the essay at the beginning. You do a little math, then some writing, a little critical reading, a little more math, and you continue that in different orders.  Each section is timed between 20-25 minutes and one writing section is 10 minutes. The SAT also has a required essay that last 25 minutes and is factored into your writing score.  Also, if you answer a question and get the answer wrong you get minus 1/4 of a point. “The SAT is time consuming, but it’s what colleges want. Just make sure you study a lot,” Senior Exstacy Perkins said.


The highest you can score on the ACT is a 36. There are 5 sections in the ACT: Math, English, Reading, Science, and Writing. The ACT is straight forward in their questions while the SAT is not.  One big difference is the ACT has a science section. You don’t need to know anything specific about a phylum or chemical reactions because it is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a given set from the experiment. The science section is mainly graphs and reading what each graph means. Additionally, the writing section is not required. Most colleges prefer that you take the written assessment, and for the most part, the questions are similar to the SAT. One pro of this test is if you answer a question and you get it wrong there is no penalty, so answer all the questions!

Many students take both ACT and SAT tests because now more colleges accept both.  The SAT is more toward colleges in the east coast while the ACT is more accepted in the west coast . “I advise that you take both tests. It will look good for colleges,” Senior Rachel Quan said. The best advice for upcoming seniors and juniors is to consider which test you would prefer and prepare for it.