SAT or ACT? How Do You Know Which to Take?

If you’re not sure whether you’re stronger at the SAT or the ACT, there are a few ways to find out.

If you’ve taken one of the two tests, then go online, find a practice test for the other exam (either SAT or ACT), and then compare the two scores.

Compare your SAT and ACT scores to see where you’re strongest.

If you need to take the SAT:

  1. Download an SAT practice test here.
  2. Score this SAT test here.

If you need to take the ACT:

Download a practice ACT test with answers and scoring table here.

Once you’ve taken both, compare your SAT and ACT scoreshere.

What’s the difference between the SAT and ACT?

You’re going to want to pay close attention to the clock as the ACT is often difficult for students to complete within the allotted amount of time. That’s one of the big differences between the SAT and the ACT.

The ACT puts a premium on speed.  If you can read really fast and understand what you’re reading, you’ll end up with more points. To illustrate that point, on the SAT you have 13 minutes to read a passage, while on the ACT you have 8 minutes and 45 seconds. So time yourself, on all the sections.

The ACT works really well for students who can process quickly and have strong working memories. The ACT does not tend to work well for students who like to take their time processing what they’re reading and do not have a lot of practice with reading quickly.

That said, there’s really only one way to know if you’re better suited to take the SAT or the ACT: take both tests and compare your scores. If it’s a photo finish, then you have the luxury of prepping for the test you like better.