SAT vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

It’s that time of the year again! High school seniors around the world are preparing for the next chapter of their lives, college. While students may be excited about this new transition, we all know how stressful the college application process can be. One of the most common question students often ask about is whether they should take the SAT, ACT, or both. Though the answer to this question may depend on the school which students are applying to, however, top 100 colleges and universities in the United States accept scores from both the SAT and ACT to determine admission and merit-based scholarship for International Students. It is important for students and parents to know that although most schools do not prefer one test over the other, there is an advantage in taking both standardized tests. That is, students may perform better in one test than the other, and thus, recognize their strengths and areas for improvement.

To best prepare for each test, here’s a brief overview of similarities and differences between the SAT and ACT:

  • Test structures are very similar
    • Both tests include Math, Reading,  English (writing and language) sections, and an optional essay portion
    • The ACT has a Science section, the SAT does not.
    • ACT: Calculator may be used for all math questions*
    • SAT: Calculator may only be used for some math questions*
    • SAT READING: 5 reading passages
    • ACT READING: 4 reading passages
  • Length
    • SAT – 3 hours (without essay), 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
    • ACT- 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay), 3 Hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
  • Scores
    • SAT-  scored on a scale of 400-1600
    • ACT- scored on a scale of 1-36

While it is recommended that students take both tests, to decide which test to take, students can take practice tests online on Princeton Review to determine which test they feel more comfortable with.

Click here to take a practice test today!

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Did you enjoy this blog post? Sign up for free and receive the latests news on scholarships, tips on common application, SAT and ACT and much more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Ataullah K.


“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being patient, understanding, caring towards me for the past year. The scholarship helped a lot in getting my visa. You sure do know how to do a brilliant work and if there is any way I could take a survey about your services at Cogito, I would give you a 10 out of 10.”