SAT or ACT? Which is best for you? 


What are the SAT and ACT?

The SAT and ACT are exams that colleges look at to make admission decisions. Although many colleges have removed the SAT/ACT requirements due to the pandemic, it is possible that they will be essential for college admissions in the future. Even if they do become completely optional, getting a high score on the tests can earn you scholarships. 


The SAT is a standardized test administered by the College Board. It consists of 4 multiple-choice sections and an optional essay. The 4 sections include a reading section, a writing and language section, and 2 math sections (one section with a calculator and one without.) 


The ACT is similar to the SAT in that it is a standardized test, but it is administered by ACT Inc. and consists of different sections. The sections of the ACT include English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning, as well as an optional writing test. 


How do you decide which to take?

According to Princeton Review, “Students are increasingly taking both the SAT and ACT.” But, if you only want to take one, you can take a timed practice test and see which one you score better on. The SAT and ACT have some similarities, but it is most important to note how they differ. US News says, “the tests vary in structure and timing as well as [in] the content matter and scoring.” That is why it is so important to try a practice test from both. There isn’t an “easier” test per se, as both have high-stakes, but you may do better on one compared to the other depending on your strengths.


What are you taking?

I polled iUP students, ranging from 5th to 12th grade to see which test if any at all, they plan on taking or have already taken. Almost fifty percent were planning on taking (or already took) the SAT alone, and about one-fifth of them plan on taking both the SAT and ACT. Twenty-five percent were not sure yet, and that is fine! That is why it is important to take practice tests for both to see which one you excel at. You can find an ACT practice test by creating an account here → Tests & Prep → ACT Free Online Tests. SAT practice tests can be found using this link


Importance of the tests

Although the test is optional for many colleges, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the tests altogether. In fact, the Get Schooled Foundation says, “Many colleges, including test-optional schools, will use SAT or ACT scores to award merit scholarships for incoming students. If you do well on the test, your scores could benefit your financial aid greatly!” 



The SAT and ACT are standardized tests that allow you to earn scholarships. These tests might again be required for college admissions in the future. Understanding the differences between the two is important for making an informed decision on which you should take. So, you might as well get to studying!


Works Cited:

Moody, Josh. “Act vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take.” US News, 2021,

“Sat vs Act: Which Test Is Right for You?” SAT vs ACT: Which Test Is Right for You? | The Princeton Review,

“Test Optional? Should I Still Take the Sat? Still Take the Act?” Get Schooled,,benefit%20your%20financial%20aid%20greatly!&text=And%20if%20you%20are%20a,tests%20may%20boost%20your%20application.