Courtesy of UCPG 3- Testive

Which one is right for you– The bar graph shows the differences between the SAT and ACT tests. Some students opt to take the ACT after the state-mandated SAT.

Khrystyna Stets, Broadcast Coordinator

Standardized tests are a part of every student’s career nowadays, and they can not be avoided. In your junior year, the scariest standardized tests occur, and with them comes national debate on which test has more benefits: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT).

Both of the tests determine the student’s strengths in core areas such as reading, writing, and mathematics. A science section is featured on the ACT only. Despite these conversations, both tests are unique and accommodate each person in different ways. The truth is that no test is better than the other. 

Each test has pros and cons, but each person views the aspects of their tests based on their own preferences, depending on their test-taking ability. The tests are relatively similar, due to the remodeling to the SAT’s in 2016, but still have some key differences.  According to The Princeton Review, you get more time to answer questions on the SAT, the total time you get to take the SAT is three hours (without the essay), and the maximum time you get to take the ACT is two hours and 55 minutes. 

The time difference between the two doesn’t seem different, but when you look at the fact that the SAT only has 154 questions and the ACT has 215 questions. For a five minute difference that is a lot of questions. It’s not stated publicly, but inferring this it seems as though the ACT tests how fast you can answer a question more than how well you can answer it like the SAT. 

Another difference between the two tests is that the ACT has a section specifically dedicated to science, as on the SAT there is not. This might be a benefit, but if you struggle in it, it could ultimately bring down your score. Unlike the SAT which has aspects of science encrypted in it, it does not have a section specifically dedicated to it. 

Even though the tests aren’t too different from each other, some people feel as though the ACT might be the better choice. It was recently announced that starting in 2020, students will be able to retake specific sections of the test, rather than retaking the entire test.

This allows students to not have to retake the entire test, however for some time now the SAT has allowed you to “super score” which students take their two best reading and math skills and put it together, even if those two scores from two different tests that were taken at different times. 

The Connecticut government requires students to take the SAT, but they can voluntarily choose to take the ACT and certain subject SAT (which is added onto the SAT which is not required). Both tests have their own perks and whichever one you decide better represents your knowledge is the one for you. With the constantly changing educational system, you never know what to expect to change on the tests.