The SAT is meant to measure your logic and real-world skills. The idea is that, no matter what classes you've taken, you should be able to do well on the SAT if you're a good problem solver. The test is divided into three sections: (1) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing broken down into two subsections: (a) 65-minute 52-question Reading and (b) 35-minute 44-question Writing and Language (2) 80-minute 58-question Math (3) 50-minute Optional Essay. Get Shmoop SAT Prep here!
Because the SAT is designed to test reasoning ability more than content, strong students who haven’t taken some advanced courses still have the opportunity to do well. Reasoning generally takes longer than answering content questions, so the SAT gives test-takers a bit more time to answer each question. The test also doesn’t include a Science section, good for students who slept through Chemistry.
The SAT is meant for students to apply logic to new material, so learners who depend on memorization over problem-solving may find this test more difficult.
Bet on the SAT if...you are a good problem solver and aren’t afraid of the Big Bad English sections.
Unlike the SAT, the ACT is meant to test mastery of high-school curricula. This means that, to do well, you should have been paying attention in class. The test is divided into four sections: Math, Reading, Science, and English (which contains an optional Essay). Each section tests separately, with time limits ranging from 35 to 60 minutes. Get Shmoop ACT Prep here!
Content mastery is the name of the game, so students confident that their high school courses have prepared them well should kick butt. For those who snoozed through their English teacher's lectures and shine in science, the ACT may be attractive (probably more attractive than your English teacher.)
Science. If you bombed any class having to do with particles, molecules, DNA, or heat transfer, you may have a hard time with this section. The ACT also packs lots of questions into each section, so be prepared for rapid-fire answering.
Bet on the ACT if...your high school transcript is full of advanced courses and you feel like you mastered the content for each course.