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Rachel Lewis, Staff Reporter

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High school students planning on furthering their education often have important decisions to make when applying to different schools. No matter if you are looking for a certificate to put on your resume, or you plan on earning a doctorate in your field of study, one important thing to consider is whether you are going to be taking the SAT or the ACT.

Because the SAT was massively redesigned in 2016, the tests share many similarities, with both test scores being accepted by all colleges and universities in the US, and both tests offering an optional essay portion. However, there are certainly more than a few differences between the two that affect which one you should take.

The four sections of the ACT are as follows: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The SAT has Reading, Writing and Language, and two Math sections for with and without a calculator. The most glaringly obvious difference is the science section in the ACT. It is completely absent in the SAT, so if science is one of your weak subjects, or conversely, your strong subjects, it may be a deciding factor in which test you will take.

There is also a distinct difference between the math portion or portions of each standardized test. While the SAT has a no calculator section, the use of a calculator is permitted for the entire math section of the ACT. On the other hand, the SAT provides a diagram of math formulas and laws pertaining to geometry that aren’t given on the ACT. Either of these could contribute to which test you choose to take.

The last major difference between the two isn’t related to the subject matter, and it is the time allotted for each question. On the SAT, the average amount of time per question is 70 seconds, while on the ACT, the average amount of time per question is 49 seconds. This, however, is overall, and even when the time per question is separated for each subject, the SAT gives at least 12 more seconds per question than the ACT. The SAT gives 48 seconds per question on the writing and language section, and the ACT gives 36 seconds per question on the equivalent english section. If time constraints are too stressful, it may be better to take the SAT.

Both the SAT and ACT have parts of them that make the test easier for one person and harder for someone else. One was the science section only in the ACT that, depending on if science is your worst subject, or vice versa, could be a deciding factor in which test you should take. Whether you decide to take one test or the other, the question of the SAT versus the ACT absolutely depends on the person.

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