SAT vs ACT: Which Test is Easier?

SAT

3 mins read35.6K Views
Piyush
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 20, 2021 19:41 IST

SAT and ACT are the most popular tests taken by UG applicants to study abroad primarily in the United States of America. Universities and colleges use either SAT or ACT scores for admissions and scholarships, and therefore, students normally question the preferences of one test over the other, and also, which test is easier or will increase their admission prospect.

Well, to begin with, no test is easy or hard but they are different. Students must identify the differences and understand their own liking or comfort zone to decide which test is right for them. The content and pattern of both the tests are the same, with some exceptions to be highlighted in this article.

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Let us take a look at how these tests differ:

 Criteria

SAT

ACT

Syllabus

Reading

Writing and Language

Mathematics

Essay (Optional)

English

Reading

Mathematics

Science

Essay (Optional)

Test Duration

3 hrs (without essay)

3 hrs, 50 mins (with essay)

2 hrs, 55 mins (without essay)

3 hrs, 35 mins (with essay)

Score

Scored on a scale of 400-1600

Scored on a scale of 1-36

Calculator use

Calculator can be used only on some math questions

Calculator can be used on all math questions

Mathematics Syllabus

Algebra I and II

Geometry and Trigonometry

Arithmetic/Probability/Data Analysis

Algebra I and II

Geometry and Trigonometry

Arithmetic/Probability

Reading Syllabus

5 reading Passages

4 reading passages

Science Syllabus

There is none

The Science section on ACT does not test knowledge on any particular science subject. It will test your science-based reasoning and critical thinking abilities.

English or Writing/Language Syllabus

Grammar/Punctuation

Vocabulary

Editing skills

Rhetorical skills

Grammar/Punctuation

Sentence Structure

Essays

The optional essay section of SAT will test your comprehension abilities of a given text.

The optional essay section of ACT will test your analytical and evaluation skills.

Frequency of Test

Held 7 times a year in US

Held 5 times a year internationally

Held 6 times a year

Examination Fee

$101 (without essay) international testing fee

$117 (with essay) + international testing fee

For Indian applicants, the fee is around Rs.7,400 – Rs.8,700, depending on exchange rates.

Check SAT official website for fee updates

$150 (without essay) + international testing fee

$166.50 (with essay) + international testing fee

For Indian applicants, the fee is around Rs.11,100 – Rs.12,300, depending on exchange rates.

Check ACT official website for fee updates

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What to do if colleges require SAT subject test?

Almost every top-ranked university recommends taking at least two SAT subject tests. If you have decided to take the ACT and are confused with the SAT subject test requirement, be aware that universities accept the ACT + Writing (Essay) in lieu of SAT and SAT subject tests. If you are interested to apply to universities requiring SAT subject tests you may submit SAT + 2 subject tests or ACT + Writing (Essay). However, always double-check and confirm the admission requirements by visiting the university websites and communicating with them.

Picking the right test

Now that the major differences are clear, it should be easier for you to pick the right test. Carefully go through each section and try taking a diagnostic test of both the exams before making the final decision or choice of test. Compare the results and check which exam is more doable for you. There may be different scenarios. For someone who loves Science but is not comfortable with Mathematics without a calculator, the ACT may be the right choice. For a student who is not comfortable with rigorous or fast-paced exams and needs time to complete the paper, the SAT may be the perfect option.

Remember that colleges and universities do not prefer one test over the other. They will pick the best scores irrespective of the test. So, prepare early for the best results!

About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio

Comments

(14)

S

Sushant Mishra

a year ago

Hello.I am deeply passionate about pursuing my mechanical engineering undergraduate course at University of Michigan...Should I give SAT subject tests or resort to APs?

Reply to Sushant Mishra

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Tuniki Sumanth

a year ago

Hi all i did my 10+2 in 2014 and want to start my graduation in international business abroad now by 2021 . so can i apply for sat and act or else wt shd i do .

Reply to Tuniki Sumanth

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Ayush Bhardwaj

2 years ago

Hey I am Indian student and I have a doubt that can we pursue both tests act and sat pls reply asap

Reply to Ayush Bhardwaj

P

Piyush KohliStudy Abroad Expert

a year ago

Dear Ayush, you can give both the SAT and ACT exams.

V

Ved Pakhale

2 years ago

Hi I am a indian student studying in class 10 I want to persue my education in Georgia institute of technology for aerospace engineering what is preferred at Georgia institute of technology SAT OF ACT

Reply to Ved Pakhale

V

Ved Pakhale

2 years ago

I am an India and I want to persue my education at Georgia University of technology for aerospace engineering can I know that what Should I take SAT or ACT to get into Georgia University of technology

Reply to Ved Pakhale

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