July 10, 2023

SAT vs ACT: Which Test is Better for You?

If you are a high school student planning to go to college, you must have heard about the SAT and ACT tests. But which one should you take? How do you decide which test is the better fit for you? The SAT and ACT are the two primary standardized tests colleges and universities consider when you apply, and each has its own unique structure and format, which only adds to the common confusion when discussing SAT vs. ACT and which one is best for your goals.

Join Class 101 as we break down the differences between the SAT and ACT and help you make an informed decision. We will explore the similarities and differences in scoring, content, and structure and provide you with the information you need to choose the test that best suits your strengths and goals. Let’s dive in!

ACT or SAT: Choosing Which Test to Take

Naturally, you’d want the most straightforward option of the two exams. In the long run, U.S. colleges can use either SAT or ACT tests to assess your eligibility for admission.

Unfortunately, the tests are similarly complex; neither is more straightforward than the other. The tests are designed to challenge your critical thinking skills, reasoning, and knowledge across multiple disciplines. So, what exam should you choose?

Our college planners at Class 101 review your goals and ideal colleges and will recommend taking either the ACT or SAT based on the expectations and trends of those schools. Class 101 college planners understand what colleges look for in new applicants and which standardized test is best for that school and student, so you don’t have the added stress of deciding which test you should prepare for.

ACT vs. SAT: Differences

There are many differences between the SAT and the ACT. First, the ACT main exam lasts 2 hours and 55 minutes. Its optional written section takes 40 minutes. The primary part of the SAT takes about 3 hours, and the optional essay takes an additional 50 minutes. Another notable difference between ACT and SAT is in the number of questions. The ACT has 255 questions, and the SAT has just 154 questions.

Additionally, the SAT will be changing dramatically in the Fall of 2023 as it moves to a digital format. The DSAT will be an improvement on the analog version and will be completed on computers or tablets. Moving the SAT to a digital platform will enable shorter test times, faster score results, and more security and flexibility. Students taking the DSAT will have access to graphing calculators for the entire math portion of the test. Talk to your Class 101 college planner to discuss how the changes presented with the DSAT may affect your college application process.

ACT vs. SAT: Costs

The SAT college admissions exam costs about $60. In contrast, the ACT, including the optional writing test, costs $88. You would pay $63 for the ACT college admissions exam without the optional test. Note that the fee changes occasionally and might not always match these figures.

Can You Take Both the SAT and ACT?

Yes, you can do both the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. However, our college planners recommend that you take only one. Preparing to do the two exams can be stressful and time-consuming. You might be using your valuable time that could be better spent on other college preparation activities. As such, it matters more to choose one and focus on it.

In the event that you do not get the score you desire on your SAT or ACT, you can retake an exam several times until you get the desired score. Retaking is an excellent option to get the highest possible score – practice makes progress!

How to be Successful on the ACT or SAT

Proper preparation is one of the best ways to score well on your SAT or ACT. You can independently prepare for standardized tests using practice tests and study guides, which are available online. However, with the help of Class 101 our prep courses have been designed to simplify the planning process, and equip your student with the skills they need to crush their goal score. Our college advisers know the ins and outs of the SAT and ACT exams and will help you effectively prepare for the exams.

Students of all ages greatly benefit from outside help from college planners, as their services effectively facilitate success when applying to colleges and universities. Starting as early as eighth grade, students can begin preparing for college with the help of professional college planners at Class 101. Our college planners can provide essential information and strategies to help ensure you are accepted to your college or university of choice:

  • Developing a College List
  • Visiting Colleges
  • Improving Grades
  • ACT / SAT / PSAT Test Prep
  • Upgrading Your Resume
  • Crafting College Essays
  • Managing Applications & Deadlines
  • Exploring Scholarship Opportunities
  • Pursuing Financial Aid (FAFSA)
  • Transitioning to College

Class 101 college planning services provide this assistance and much more throughout your high school career.

Focus on Your Future Today with Class 101!

Since competition for college admissions is high, you can easily miss out on a spot at your best-fit college. Fortunately, with the proper support from our college planners at Class 101, you can maximize your chances of acceptance to your school of choice.

Class 101 offers professional support for college planning. From preparing for standardized testing to managing college applications, we can help you with everything. Contact us or find a location to start planning for college today!


Image Credit: Mehmet Cetin, Shutterchok

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