A Comparison of SAT and ACT


Colleges and universities in the United States of America give admission tests to all entering freshmen students. The scores in the test determine in what school the student can enroll as a freshman. Some colleges and universities have high cut off scores while others stick to average scores.

There are two types of examination to all high school graduates who want to pursue a college education:the SAT and the ACT.  The first stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test while the second refers to American College Testing. In the past, the major difference between these two examinations for admission in colleges and universities in the United States of America lies in the location of tertiary schools that require them. ACT is the admission test given to students who want to enroll in schools in the Midwest while SAT is a requirement to enter tertiary schools in the northeast, and on the east and west coasts.

Currently, however, students can takeeitherthe ACT or the SATtoget admitted inmostschools. The following are the similarities and differences of ACT and SAT:


  • Both the SAT and the ACT are tests given to students who seek admission in colleges and universities.
  •  Each has a cut off score which serves as the basis as to whether the applicant will be admitted to the school or not. 
  • There are review classes offered for students who want to take either of the two examinations.


  • ACT is content-based, which means that it is used to measure knowledge and skills that are more aligned with the lessons in school. The test items cover English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. SAT is focused on assessing the students’ skills in math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
  • ACT is made up of multiple-choice type of question with an optional writing test. Students only take the writing test if they choose a school that requires results of such test for admission.  SAT examination is made up of several types of tests such as sentence completion, quantitative comparisons, and an essay test which must be taken by everyone(but the essay test will no longer be mandatory in the new SAT revolution).
  • ACT and SAT also differ in terms of scoring. The total score for SAT ranges from 200 to 800 while for ACT, it is 1 to 36. Average score for SAT is 500 while for ACT, it is 17-23.

In the past, geographical location was the basis whether a student will take the SAT of the ACT. Nowadays, students can choose between the two, depending on which test they think they will perform better.  Almost all colleges and universities accept ACT results as the basis for accepting students. Some professors think that the ACT is the appropriate examination to give students seeking admission because it measures their school performance and can be used as predictor for the academic standing of college students.

One benefit from this acceptance of both tests is that students can decide in which test they would most likely get a passing score. They can choose the test where they think they will excel. As a result, almost all students seeking college admission can pursue their college education.

and take an SAT prep class online on Acadsoc!

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