A lot of students find that the ACT is a much easier, more ‘doable’ test even though – and this is the biggest downside – they have to work through the exam at a much more rapid pace than they would on the SAT. Below I address 6 reasons why this is the case:
- The questions on the ACT are typically more straightforward than on the SAT. Also, the distractors (wrong choices) tend to be more obviously incorrect. Initially, students won’t sense this, but with minimal practice, it becomes obvious for most students.
- Raising scores on the SAT demands more understanding of strategies; on the ACT, scores can often be boosted merely by completing 4-6 practice tests. Bottom line, the ACT is not as strategy oriented.
- The reading questions on the ACT are more about finding a specific answer within the passage whereas the SAT demands more critical analysis and the drawing of inferences.
- Students are able to use a calculator for all the math questions, unlike the SAT which has a no-calculator section.
- The SAT math questions are typically a longer read and often throw in some irrelevant information. ACT math questions are more succinct and include only what’s relevant. (The math levels tested are quite similar though the ACT is skewed more toward geometry and the SAT more toward Algebra 2.)
- The Science section on the ACT may be the most coachable section on the ACT – or even the SAT – as it’s the most structured and predictable section of the exam. This is based on the fact that the ACT Science only has three passage types, and each passage type has specific question types associated with it. (The SAT has no designated Science section but throws in a 3-4 charts and graphs in the reading and writing/language sections.)
Are you still not sure which is the better exam for your teen? Here is the link to take the 60 Second ACT vs. SAT Assessment to confirm the better test.
We will use the 90 Second ACT Skill Set Assessment and the 90 Second SAT Skill Set Assessment to further validate the results and to get a potential ACT and/or SAT score goal. How students rate themselves on these assessments points to their better exam.