Should You Take the ACT or SAT?

Find Out Which College Admissions Test Fits You Best!

SAT vs. ACT. Which Test Should You Take?
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4. Solving a math problem where an answer is NOT provided...

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Should You Take the ACT or SAT?

You got: the SAT!

I got the SAT!. Should You Take the ACT or SAT?
Getty Images | David Schaffer

Although you will not face an entire Science section on The Redesigned SAT, you may encounter a "sciency" article on the Reading test. And you'll need those stellar reading skills since the Reading section is pretty tough. Not only does the SAT have five reading passages to the ACT's four, some questions will ask you why you chose your answers.

SAT Math is also more difficult than ACT Math. There is a "No Calculator" portion along with grid-ins where you'll have to pencil in the answer without any choices.

But the SAT essay is much less challenging than the ACT essay. You don't have to defend a stance on an issue. You'll critique someone's argument. But although you have more time to answer each question on the SAT, you'll likely need every second.

Students along U.S. coasts tend to take the SAT more than the ACT, but you can take either test no matter where you live. 

Students applying to the Ivy Leagues tend to take the SAT more than the ACT, but these schools accept both scores. 

Should You Take the ACT or SAT?

You got: the ACT!

I got the ACT!. Should You Take the ACT or SAT?
Getty Images | David Schaffer

The ACT test includes a Science section, whereas the SAT does not. But you don't need extensive scientific knowledge; you'll need to be able to analyze scientific experiments.

Your reading skills must be up to par for the ACT exam, although you won't need to defend any of your answers on ACT Reading. You will always have multiple choice answers on ACT Math, and you can keep your approved calculator on your desk the whole time.

But the ACT essay is very difficult. Not only will you make an argument, you'll critique three perspectives on the issue, too. Not so on the SAT! 

Most students who apply to the Ivy Leagues submit SAT scores. If you're not planning to apply, then don't feel pressured to take both tests. 

And if you live toward the center of the U.S., you'll be in good company taking the ACT. More students in the Midwest take the ACT instead of the SAT.