Both the SAT and ACT are important tests when it comes to your college application. But which should you take? Are they both necessary to complete? Here, we’ll explore these questions so you can decide on the option that’s right for you.

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What to Consider

Here are the primary items you need to take into consideration when determining whether you should take the SAT, ACT, or both:

  • Review college admissions requirements. Some colleges require the completion of one test or the other. Some require you to take both. Ultimately, this is the primary point to consider. The bottom line is, if you want to get into your dream school, you must meet their admission requirements.
  • Are you applying to multiple colleges? If so, some will likely require the completion of the SAT, and others may require the completion of the ACT. When this is the case, it might be a good idea to go ahead and get both exams under your belt.
  • What are your academic strengths? Generally, those who excel in mathematics might perform greater on the SAT, while those with great reading and comprehension skills may score higher on the ACT. If you only plan to take one of these tests, it’s smart to take the exam that plays on your strengths.

Exam Structure

To get a better feeling for which exam may right for you, review the structure of the tests and their key comparison points:

Structure of the SAT

  • Writing & Language. You will have 35 minutes to complete 44 questions. The reading level of passages ranges from 9th grade to early college. You must also review informational tables and graphs to determine the correct response.
  • Math. You will have 80 minutes to complete 58 questions. Within this time period, there is a 25-minute no-calculator section consisting of 20 questions. The questions are both multiple-choice and write-in responses.
  • Reading. You will have 65 minutes to complete 44 questions. This section consists of five, medium-length passages.
  • Optional Essay. You will have 50 minutes to complete the essay prompt.

Structure of the ACT

  • English. You will have 45 minutes to complete 75 questions. The reading difficulty is usually at the 9th-grade level.
  • Math. You will have 60 minutes to complete 60 questions. You can use a calculator for each question and they are all multiple choice.
  • Reading. You will have 35 minutes to complete 40 questions. It consists of four, lengthy passages. The passage complexity lies between a 10th to 11th-grade reading level.
  • Science. You will have 35 minutes to complete 40 questions. This section primarily tests your ability to interpret graphs, reason through hypotheses, and make logical assumptions rather than actual scientific concepts themselves.
  • Optional Essay. You will have 40 minutes to complete the essay prompt.

Study with Jantzi Test Prep

We hope you have a better idea of whether you should take the SAT, ACT, or both. No matter the case, our professional team is ready to assist you with your studies so you can ace your exams. Get started with Jantzi test prep today: