Which test: SAT or ACT?

At UES we’re often asked by students whether they should be taking the SAT or ACT, what the key differences between the tests are, and whether colleges prefer one test over the other. Here are some myth-busting facts about each test:

  • While the SAT is probably the most famous test in the UK, the ACT is actually the most popular test worldwide , and has been since 2012!
  • The SAT and ACT are accepted equally at all colleges. Traditionally more students in the Mid-West took the ACT and those on the Coasts took the SAT, but this trend has been changing rapidly in recent years.
  • There’s very little actual science in the Science Section of the ACT. Students who are not doing any sciences for A-Level can still do well on this section of the test.

The biggest difference between the tests is in the Math section. The new SAT has a No Calculator Math section and a few questions at the end of each section are not multiple choice. The SAT has fewer math topics to learn than the ACT but tests students more deeply and requires a higher level of fluency with algebra. The ACT, by contrast, tests a broader range of topics and is more of a test of knowledge than pure ability.

The SAT Reading Test has more of a focus on evidence than the ACT Reading. It also draws from a wider range of texts including foundational documents and texts addressing civil liberties and women’s suffrage. The ACT Reading Test is very fast-paced, whereas the SAT Reading Test requires slower, deeper analysis.

It’s important for students to make the right decision about the test they will prepare for at the outset of the process to avoid preparing for a test that doesn’t fit their learner profile. To help students decide between the ACT and SAT, we’ve developed an online diagnostic test that calculates your suitability for the ACT or SAT based on a sophisticated algorithm that evaluates your speed and ability in each section. A full report costs £25, but we offer a score breakdown and test recommendation for free.

More information can be found on the CollegeBoard and ACT websites. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all.

To aid you in your decision, we have designed an SAT/ACT Diagnostic Test . This test will give you a recommendation on which test to take, as well as full feedback on your stronger and weaker areas.

You should also try questions from both tests (available from us if you're having lessons with us) and ask for advice from experts, such as ourselves .

More information can be found on the CollegeBoard and ACT websites .

Please get in touch if you have any questions at all.

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info@ueseducation.com

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