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

Responses: 13


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.

Definitely SAT

Simply put, you get way more time per question for the SAT than on the ACT. For me, more time to think equals better results. If that sounds like you too, choose SAT
—Guest Sarah

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

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


I am in middle school and was chosen for the Duke TIP program so I have to take SAT or ACT in January. HELP!!! Which is easier?
—Guest brandon bonilla

It Differs

As a senior this year I have taken both exams. I did well on both, but I found the ACT easier due to the science portion. For students who excel at classes such as biology or chemistry then the ACT is definitely easier. It also helps to have decent math skills. The SAT was much more stressful for me. I studied, I listened to my older friends tell me what it was like, and I listened to my teacher try and tell us how we could improve our scores. I still did better on the ACT. It showed that it really depends on the test. I could have studied more, but it got the point where I couldn't stand taking the practice tests. I think that it's best to just look at each tests' unique format, figure out which subjects you're best at, and then just go for it. You'll do fine as long as you don't become stressed on test day. Taking one practice test apiece is good enough unless you're trying to get a near perfect score. It's impossible to tell sometimes which test is for you until you've taken them.
—Guest Phil

That Depends

That actually depends on who's taking the exam and what their preferences are. If you like brain teasers, have a good eye for detail, and are good at reading between the lines, then the SAT would be better. But if you're more book smart than street smart, like science, and prefer reading a passage for the main idea, then the ACT is better. It also depends on which one you have time for, depending on the date sheet for each exam. You can find that on the SAT and ACT websites.
—Guest Anonymous

I'm voting SAT

The SAT is more universally accepted, so you'll never be stuck wondering whether or not you took the right test. You have a bunch of articles about SAT scores, don't you Allen?? =)

SAT's are much easier

The SAT's are just practice. Once I master the basic techniques, I waste no time reading through passages when I don't need to to answer the questions, and thus, time is no longer a restraint. I also like the scoring system, which (once again) I familiarized myself with, and can use to the best of my ability. It's all a matter of being accustomed to the test.
—Guest Rose

What do you mean by "better"?

It's a great article about the differences between the exams. I've tutored for both, and I can tell you that from a certain perspective, neither is better than the other, they're just different. If you mean which one is a student more likely to do better on, the only way to decide is take a practice test for each and ask yourself, which feels more comfortable to me. A few more points: 1) The SAT reading questions are more focused on the main idea of the passage. If you know it, all the other questions become easier. Not so for the ACT reading, which is more focused on the details, and their questions are less likely to have line numbers telling you where to look in the passage. 2) For the ACT science, don't spend too much time reading the graphs and charts before going to the questions, or you'll never finish it. 3) Only study with official material, from whichever test you choose. I have an SAT blog at www.SATSuccessSecrets.com/blog if you want to learn more about that.

SAT Vocabulary

I studied for both of these exams, and I found the ACT much more pleasant. So much of the preparation for the SAT involves memorizing vocabulary words. My teachers have always said that memorization is the lowest form of learning, and I hope that is true because I'm looking forward to burning all these flashcards.
—Guest Gwen

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