All students considering college should take either the ACT or SAT. Colleges need at least one test score for admissions purposes; the scores are also used for some scholarships. Montana has a strong focus on the ACT, which all students take free of charge in their Junior year. It is recommended that students take the test again on their own in the fall of their senior year. Students may take the SAT on their own as well, but only one of the tests is needed for college admissions purposes. An explanation of the differences between the ACT and the SAT may be found at the bottom of this page.
Also, go to http://www.kaptest.com/college-prep/getting-into-college/free-practice-test to take both an SAT and an ACT practice test, plus receive feedback on your scores. For more in depth SAT preparation, visit. http://www.khanacademy.org/sat for the Official SAT practice site. For official ACT practice resources and tips, visit http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html. There are also some great tips and advice in this booklet here- Test Prep ebook.
We strongly suggest that students take the Writing portion of the tests as many colleges require those scores.
ACT® vs SAT®: Which Test Should You Take?
Side-by-Side Comparison of Format, Scoring, and Content
Both the ACT and the SAT are nationally administered standardized tests that help colleges evaluate candidates. All schools accept either test interchangeably. So as you begin to think about college and creating the best application package possible, your admissions plan should begin with the question, "Which test should I take?" Here’s how to compare them.
Compare the tests so you can decide which you should take
|Test Structure and Format||ACT||New SAT|
|Length||3 hours, 35 min (with optional Writing Test)||3 hours, 50 minutes (with optional Essay)|
|Structure||4 sections (English, Math, Reading, Science) plus an Optional Essay (or Writing Test)||4 sections (Evidence-Based Reading, Writing, Math without a calculator, Math with a calculator) plus an Optional Essay|
|Score||Composite of 1-36 based on average scores from the 4 test sections 4 scores of 1-36 for each test |
Optional Writing Test score of 1-36 (not included in the overall)
|Score is out of 1600: 800 for Math, 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Optional Essay receives a separate score|
Subscores and insight scores available
|Wrong Answer Penalty||No penalty for wrong answers||No penalty for wrong answers|
|Sending Score History||You decide which score is sent||Not yet known|
SAT vs. ACT: Understanding the Differences
There is no significant content difference between the ACT and the SAT, though the ACT’s math section is slightly more rigorous in testing complex math comprehension. If you are a student who does well in math, you might want to consider the ACT.
If you are a student who needs more time when taking an exam, then you might consider the SAT, since it clocks in at 3 hours and 50 minutes, while the ACT is allotted 3 hours and 35 minutes for testing.
The best way to determine which test best fits your test-taking style, test the tests themselves! See which exam fits you, take a practice test.
Or, take the quick diagnostic test to the right and see which exam is right for you.
In addition to comparing test structure and content, it’s also important to think about your college admissions timeline when making your exam decision.
Last Modified on March 30, 2017