SAT vs ACT / Coke vs Pepsi??

“Which test to take SAT or the ACT?” That is kind of like asking do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? There is really no one good answer as it is really a matter of preference. Looking at the two tests there are many similarities and differences. Here is how the two compare so you can make an informed decision for yourself:


SAT: Consists of 3 sections Writing, Critical Reading, and Math (grid-in answers require you to write answers in)

ACT: Consists of 4 sections English, Reading, Math (no grid-ins), and Science (the science section is based on applying knowledge and interpreting data)


SAT: Scoring is based on a 200-800 point range per section. All three sections are combined for a highest combined score of 2400

ACT: Scoring is based on a range on a 1-36, sections are averaged together with the highest composite score of 36


SAT: Essay is required

ACT: Essay is optional and is offered on specific test dates (many colleges require the essay)


SAT:  Arithmetic, Algebra, & Geometry

ACT: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, &  some Trigonometry


SAT: Multiple choice questions have 5 answers to choose from

ACT: Multiple choice questions have 4 answers to choose from


SAT: Lose points for wrong answers (better to skip a question if you do not know the answer)

ACT: Do not lose points for wrong answer (OK to guess)


Visit the College Board ( and ACT ( websites to learn more and experience the sample test questions to see which you feel most comfortable with.