SAT and ACT exams – Differences and Reviews

1. Use of calculator:

For the SAT, use of calculator is not allowed while on the ACT use of calculator is allowed. Though the questions on the SAT are simple enough that they can be solved without a calculator, you may want to evaluate your calculation skills to be sure you can work confidently in the absence of calculator if you choose to take the SAT, otherwise, the ACT will definitely be the better choice for you.

2. Maths advantage

For students who are weaker in math, the ACT offers a huge advantage. While the Math score comprises 50% of the overall SAT score, due to the presence of the Science section on the ACT, Math is only worth 25%. However, the inverse is also true: if a student excels in math, they will probably be better off taking the SAT.

3. Writing prompts:

Both tests offer an optional Essay writing section. If you choose to take the essays, it’s important to note the differences in the prompts. The SAT prompt evaluates how well you understand a source text, while the ACT prompt will test how well you can choose an argument and defend it (more like writing a persuasive essay).

4. Critical thinking:

While the ACT will ask you more straightforward questions, the SAT will ask more creative questions aimed at testing your critical-thinking skills. On the English section, the ACT might ask more questions about grammar, while the SAT might focus a bit more on writing style and expression of ideas.

5. Vocabularies

Although the SAT is more focused on concepts than on spit-back knowledge, there is still something to be noted about the SAT’s focus on vocabulary. Prior to March 2016, the SAT included questions called “Sentence Completions,” where students would have to complete the sentence with the best word choice from the list. Although the SAT no longer includes these types of questions, the passages in the English section are known to have high-level vocabulary. If you choose to take the SAT, you should dedicate some time to vocabulary study. You can find some free vocabulary revision notes here.

So, there you have it! I hope you can now choose which option is best suited for you.

Please note that regardless of what your option might be, focus is key. To do well, you should avoid trying to prepare simultaneously  for both tests. Rather, you should concentrate on one of the tests per time. Also, the place of effective practice should not be underrated.

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