I remember being a child and thinking to myself, “Oh, I don’t have to worry about taking the ACT or SAT! I’m a kid!” Then one day, wham! I was a junior in high school and to ensure my future, I had to take the notorious tests that colleges would use to make or break my future.

Truthfully, the worst thing I could have done is stress myself out with anxiety on the subjects. With proper research of the two tests, I was able to receive wonderful scores and objectively compare the two – as I am about to reveal to you.

Take the PSAT and PLAN to study for the SAT and ACT. (Photo by English106)

The Scholastic Assessment Test, better known as the SAT

The SAT is often regarded as a test to determine aptitude rather than genius. If you are a good test taker, this is something to take into account. If you are a fidgety person by nature, the SAT may be a poorer choice for you because it is the longer of the two. Though it zeros in on less subjects than the ACT, that also means that more time is spent in those subjects, making one grow more antsy as time passes. Also, studies have shown that statistically, men will do better on the SAT than the ACT. The reasoning behind this is that women will often guess, and men will leave answers blank if given the opportunity. Remember: The SAT will take one quarter of a point for every answer you make that is incorrect.

The American College Testing, better known as the ACT

As shown above, the ACT is a measurement of actual knowledge rather than aptitude. This test puts less emphasis on reading and math and instead, allows for success in achievement in five different parts. The questions have been quoted as being to the point – they will not try to trick you with wording as the SAT will. As the SAT is statistically better for men, the ACT is statistically better for women to take. The ACT is the shorter of the two tests and even goes as far as to offer “…an interest inventory that allows students to evaluate their interests in various career options,” as told by, which allows one more resources to better themselves for the future. Remember: There is no penalty for answering questions. Answer all to the best of your ability as no points are deducted.

As for advice, the probability that you will be more adept for one than the other is likely. You can prepare yourself using tools such as the PSAT and the PLAN. Using these practice exams, one can accordingly familiarize themselves with the test formats, as well as decipher which of the two suit oneself best.

Another idea that can be utilized to enhance performance of either test is to take them more than once, which can prove to be costly. For those who have qualified for Free and Reduced Lunch by the National School Lunch Program, you may also qualify for both the SAT and ACT fee waivers. To find out whether or not you qualify, converse with your school’s guidance counselors and career advisors.

Both tests are popular measurements of college readiness and are accepted by all four year universities in the United States. It is simply a matter of understanding what you will achieve greater outcomes in.

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