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

Responses: 18


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

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


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?? =)

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Is the SAT or ACT the Better Exam?

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