SAT vs ACT: Which One Is the Best Option for You?


Ash Jewett

SAT and ACT Prep booklets

As springtime approaches, so does the end of the 2021-2022 school year. For underclassmen, this means preparing for finals. However, for the current upperclassmen, this looks a little different. For those applying to colleges, this can mean standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT. While both are accepted by colleges, there is a difference between two. It’s important to view the format and content of both when deciding which one would be a better fit for you.

The standardized test most students know is the SAT. This exam has four required sections and two breaks. The format is as follows:

-Evidence-Based Reading
52 questions in 65 minutes
-10 minute break
-Writing and Language
44 questions in 35 minutes
-Math: No Calculator
20 questions in 25 minutes
– Five minute break
-Math: Calculator
38 questions in 55 minutes

This formula is different from the other widely-accepted standardized test, the ACT. This exam also has four required sections, two breaks, but also has an optional writing. The format is as follows:

75 questions in 45 minutes
60 questions in 60 minutes
-10 minute break
40 questions in 35 minutes
40 questions in 35 minutes
-5 minute break
-Optional Writing
1 prompt in 40 minutes

Comparing the two tests will help students decide which test is a better fit for them. The SAT is more math focused whereas the ACT is more language arts focused. It is also important to note that only the ACT has an optional Writing, the well-known SAT Essay was discontinued in June 2021. Another notable difference is the time constraints. The ACT offers less time per section and is more fast-paced. When deciding which standardized test is the best fit, it is best to weigh the options. The best way to succeed is to play to your strengths and prepare.