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Readers Respond: Is the SAT or ACT the Better Exam?

Responses: 22


From the article: SAT, ACT, Both or Neither?
Most colleges will accept either SAT or ACT scores. The SAT is purportedly an aptitude test that assesses your verbal and reasoning abilities, while the ACT is an achievement test that is supposed to measure what you've learned in school.

Is one test superior to the other? What's your preference, and why? Share your thoughts here. Share Your Opinion

ACT all the way

The ACT's questions are more straightforward and if you are a person who reads fast and who often skips over important things, you have a better chance on it. Also what makes me so angry about the SAT is the guessing penalty, which I think is so unfair. I got a 30 on the ACT but only an 1830 on the SAT. Going to take both again though.
—Guest Hermanation


is true that the ACT is values less than the SAT because many of my teachers told me that since the ACT easier colleges don't really value it.
—Guest dasani

SAT and ACT a no.

There is no reason for there to be any of these tests. It does not test your knowledge or ability. A student must figure out how to study for the SAT and what they need to do well. It is not a test of how much we have learned at school so far. These are the most ridiculous tests I have ever taken and there is no reason for them to even exist. A GPA, letters or recommendation, an essay, etc. should show what each and every student is like in school and as an all around person. I have a decent GPA and horrible SAT scores because I am not a good test taker. This is unfair and 4 hour test on a Saturday morning SHOULD NOT DETERMINE ANYTHING. Good bye.
—Guest hithere

ACT all the way

I've taken both the ACT and the SAT and scored equally well for both tests, and I can see why people might say it's a matter of personal preference. But I think the SAT is less fair because they expect you to memorize vocabulary. If you have the time and resources to spend on that, great. But if you aren't as lucky, you're much more likely to miss out on those extra points ONLY because you didn't know vocab. I also have a bone to pick with the way the SAT's scoring system works. The SAT is one of the only few tests that still have a guessing penalty, which I think isn't fair. Even AP tests, which are also by CollegeBoard don't have guessing penalties! Other than that, I like the ACT because the questions are, in my opinion, much more straightforward, which makes up for the time crunch since you don't have to waste time second-guessing your answers
—Guest HS Junior

Correction and advice

Take both exams as both exams will serve as stronger indicators of test performance for one another. Competitively, more students take both exams as colleges accept either or.
—Guest Ed

Choose SAT

I am in 10th grade. I have taken official practice tests for both; on the SAT I got 2250 and my composite ACT score was 33. I prefer the SAT because I find it to be, for lack of a better word, the more enjoyable test. The math questions are not as tedious as some of the ACT ones can be. The grammar section I find to be simpler on the SAT. For the passages, I find both tests to be similar, although the vocabulary on the SAT annoys me sometimes. However, I dislike the ACT mainly because of its format. Those long sections offer little variety and get very boring quickly. I find the science section clever but I feel that more time should be given so that students can spend more time analyzing material -- in college, one is not pressured to work that fast. The SAT is better designed for me as I like changing subjects every 25 minutes and answering a greater variety of question types. It is less boring for me.
—Guest James


It depends on how you think. I prefer the ACT as it is more straightforward, but you have less time on each question. SAT was in more manageable time chunks, and a lot of states pay for it, which is a plus if you don't have an extra 36 bucks floating around. But the best thing to do would be to take them both, and which ever you feel more comfortable with take again. And again. And again.
—Guest Karli

Depends on how you succeed

Are you like me and succeed despite being lazy? SAT since it measures raw intelligence (the CR + M). Do you have to work hard to get good grades (nothing wrong with that, just differences in brain chemistry)? Then the ACT.
—Guest Ivy League Applicant

ACT all the way!

I am currently a junior who's preparing to take the SAT and I can truly say that the ACT seems better for me. I got mediocore 1600's on the SAT practice tests and the idea of needing a 2100 scares me. I think the ACT is less "hyped-up" which will help me and I enjoy science.
—Guest Kendall


I believe that both are good test it all depends on how you like to test take. Something not mentioned was that on the act (english, science, reading, math) you will take everything in one big chunk and on the sat (critical reading, math, writing) it will be I separate sections. An example is this you do writing in the beginning then you do a little reading a little math then reading etc. I am currently picking which one to do and even though the act seems the preferred one overall, I believe that I will take the sat test.
—Guest guest 7th grader

Duke TIP

I am in seventh grade and i qualified for the Duke TIP. At first i thought that the SAT would be more intellectually stimulating. However, as I read on, the ACT seemed less stressful (opt. essay, no guessing penalty, etc.) I'm leaning toward the ACT now, but I'm still not sure.
—Guest I Have To Have A Guest Name??

It depends on you.

I took both the ACT and the SAT. Being from the mid-west the ACT is preferred but colleges will take both. I took the ACT twice and the SAT once and my SAT was considerably higher. For me the SAT worked, but for others the ACT my be better. Best advice is to take both exams early in your junior year then take the one you preferred a second or third time during the end of your junior year and beginning of your senior year.
—Guest Katy


A tutor for both exams told us to take both to determine which one my daughter was more comfortable with. Some kids find the formats to be completely different. After she took them both once, her scores on the ACT were substantially higher & she felt like the test was more straight-forward, while the SAT seemed to her, to be more confusing with possible different interpretations. She took the ACT two additional times, raising her score each time, which helped her get scholarship money & into several honors colleges.
—Guest mom in Texas

I'm Scared

Should I take both tests just to make sure. My school really hasn't tested us or helped us so I really don't know which one is better for me. [Allen Grove replied: One option is to take both exams; you could also check out the Princeton Review book, "SAT or ACT: Choosing the Right Exam for You." I see you can grab a used copy on Amazon for just a couple dollars. Best wishes!]
—Guest Sophmore

ACT is better

For me, the ACT is definitely a much better test as in the test writers have done a much better job. There are less silly trick questions and more legitimate ones. The time constraint on the ACT is burdensome, but that's part of the skills tested by it.
—Guest ImSoMetaEvenThisAcronym

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