SAT vs. ACT

February 27, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Students wanting to go to college are getting ready to take standardized tests. But when it comes to the SATs and ACTs, which one should they take?Well, that depends on the student.

Education reporter Art McFarland checks out the differences between the tests.

College-bound students have spent weeks preparing for admissions tests.

"Three years of hard work in high school," student Martin Ljekocevic said. "And all these exams within high school measure to this one exam if I want to get into a superb university."

Most students plan to take the scholastic aptitude test, or SAT. But the Princeton Review, one of the leading test prep companies, says students can choose the ACT.

"The most competitive schools in the country certainly will take either the SAT or the ACT," the Princeton Review's Robert Franek said.

The Princeton Review has a free test to help students determine whether they would be more successful taking the SAT or the ACT.

"The ACT simply tests students on things that they are learning in school, while the SAT tests students, very specifically, on how well they take the SAT," Franek said.

Also, among the differences:

  • Guessing could be worthwhile on the ACT, but students lose points for wrong answers on the SAT
  • The essay is optional on the ACT, but required on the SAT.
  • Students who test more than once may send their best ACT score to colleges, while the SAT sends all scores
  • The ACT is 25 minutes shorter than the SAT

    No matter which of these tests students and their parents decide they should take, experts say it's always a good idea to put some time into test preparation.

    To figure out which test is better for you to take, click here

    Click here for the Kaplan test prep college home page.

    Click here for the College Board page about their college tests, which includes the SAT.

    Click here for the ACT test home page.


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