Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. So which should you take?


It's all about the numbers. Some students end up scoring substantially higher on the SAT; others do better on the ACT. In lieu of a crystal ball, we created The Princeton Review StartUp designed to help you explore both tests. 

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To help you zero in on the right test, here are seven key features of the ACT and the New SAT:

1. ACT questions tend to be more straightforward.

On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem.

2. The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.

If you're an ardent wordsmith, you'll love the SAT. If words aren't your thing, you may do better on the ACT

3. The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not.

The ACT science section is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a set of data or conflicting viewpoints. But if you're a true science-phobe, the SAT might be a better fit.

4. Both tests now have the same advanced math concepts.

You can expect questions in arithmetic, algebra I & II, geometry and trigonometry.

5. Both essays are optional.

You have 50 minutes to complete the essay on the SAT and 40 minutes to complete it on the ACT.

6. Although both essays are optional...

The SAT essay is more comprehension focused while the ACT wants to see how well you can evaluate and take a position on complex issues.

7. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36 and the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.

Three points on the SAT isn’t a big deal, but three points on the ACT could be the difference between your target school and your dream school.

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Need help deciding between the ACT and the New SAT? Take our quiz: Should I Take the ACT, the New SAT or Both?