Expert Talks My Study Destination USA

SAT vs ACT: Which One You Should Take and When?

The SAT and the ACT are entrance exams to the universities of the United States. A student can either choose one or the other.

From the point of view of the universities, their great advantage is that all the candidates take the same test. This makes it easier to compare scores of the students coming from different schools and even from different school systems and countries.

What is the importance of the SAT or ACT?

Their relevance depends on the university. Selective universities take them into consideration to quickly discard students who have not reached the minimum scores required by that university.

Is it better to take the SAT or ACT?

The students must take the one that best suits their abilities. These differences between one exam and another will help you decide which one is best for you.

Subjects: There are three in the SAT: critical reading, mathematics and writing. In the ACT they are English, math, science, reading and writing (the latter is optional).

Score: In the SAT there is a negative score for the wrong answers. But the ACT allows you to assume the answer without penalty for the wrong answer.

The impression among students: The SAT measures fitness, ACT knowledge. It is also considered that in the ACT the questions are more direct.

Time: In the ACT, there are more questions and less time to answer each of them.

In the official web pages of each examining agency, you can take test exams to see which one is better for you (ACT, SAT). In this way, you will be able to see which one fits more to your knowledge and skills.

If your results are within the university’s scoring parameters, then compliance with this requirement is considered satisfactory.

When should I take the test?

If you take the test in January or February, there will be a lot of time in your hands to prepare for the exam. You may also want to take the ACT or SAT in the fall semester of your senior year of high school. Those applying for an early admission in a university, should take the test in October. If you are applying for regular admission, you can take the test till December. Avoid the time of the year when you have a lot of homework or extracurricular activities that need to be taken care of.

Read Also: Study in Singapore: 10 Must-Know Guides

Is it difficult to take the test several times?

It is not a problem to take the SAT/ACT more than once. In fact, it is likely that you will improve your grade the second time you take the test. If you are taking the test, you should know that there are several colleges that allow you to report a “super score.” To find your super-score, choose the highest grade you have received in each section of the exam (irrespective of the exam dates) and add them.

While it is possible that your grade will improve if you take the test more than once, you should never take the SAT/ACT to practice only. Some colleges require students to submit a report of all the test scores. To reduce the chance of a low score appearing in your report, study before each exam and go mentally prepared.

What do I have to take into account to prepare the SAT?


If you start preparing well in advance, around the first year of high school, your chances of getting a good grade in the exam will increase. With a good result, the NCAA and the NAIA can give the green light to your admission process well in advance. In addition, you can take the test several times to get a better score.

Motivation and Focus

With motivation, you can get many things done. For this, you will have to put in many hours in preparation and do multiple exercises. On the other hand, everything is a matter of how you draw your personalized plan. If you are an athlete, invest the time in those sections that require more work and schedule a plan based on the dates of the exams and the notes you need to get to compete and receive sports scholarships.

Utilization of Resources

You are a millennial, so take advantage of it and find resources online, free or paid, to help you prepare. On the Internet, there are many options, from e-learning courses, group classes, to face-to-face and Skype, etc. The solutions are there; you just have to use them.