SAT and ACT1. What is the difference bet ACT and SAT? If going to college (university) which one should I TAKE? 2. What book is better to use for SAT especially on Grammar? (Please provide the book...


1. What is the difference bet ACT and SAT?

If going to college (university) which one should I TAKE?

2. What book is better to use for SAT especially on Grammar?

(Please provide the book name)




Asked on by lulufrancis

6 Answers | Add Yours

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It used to be that here in the South, the SAT was exclusively accepted, but for the past couple of years, my students have been able to choose between the two or take both. Many of mine choose to take both and then determine which one fits their test-taking personalities better. Here are a couple of factors to consider when choosing between the tests.

1. Do you do better on a test if you are able to focus on one subject for an extended period of time? If so, then the ACT is problaby for you because you take one subtest for each subject and then you're done with that subject. In contrast, the SAT presents you with shorter sections of subjects and jumps around a lot more than the ACT. Many of my students like having the exam so broken up.

2. Do you want to have the option of skipping questions entirely and not being penalized for that? Then the SAT is for you. You won't lose points for not answering questions, but you do lose points for answering incorrectly. For the ACT, it is better to answer every question because your score is based solely on how many you answer correctly. You are not penalized for incorrect answers; so you don't want to skip questions.

3. Do you want to have the option of whether or not you take the writing section? If so, then take the ACT; the writing section is optional. Several years ago, the SAT added the writing section, and it is mandatory, but what is frustrating about the writing section is that it lengthened the exam, and most univerities do not even consider your writing score when looking at your SAT score.

4. Are you taking Advanced Placement classes, especially an AP English class? If so, then you might want to take the SAT because it is written by the same company as the AP exams (The College Board). While the scoring is different for the exams, if you get accustomed to the AP English exams, you will probably think that the SAT is an easier version--this could help with test anxiety and increase your test-taking confidence.

5. Finally--and this is not a proven point--many of my students who struggle in math have told me that they think that the math section of the ACT is slightly easier than the SAT's math sections.

In regards to practice books, I have found the Kaplan books to be the most helpful to my students, but The College Board does have a blue review book that is also quite helpful.


vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The test preparation books are very good, partly because they get you thinking about how the questions will actually be formulated rather than simply on knowing the information itself.  You can probably find recent used copies of these books online for very little money or in used bookstores at discounted prices.  If you need to brush up on your grammar, here is an excellent site:

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Many years ago, there were regional differences, in that colleges and universities in certain areas of the United States preferred one test over the other for use by applicants. I have no idea if this is still the case.

As you consider which schools you might wish to attend, one of the questions you should research is which of the tests they require of applicants. If you're lucky, all of your choices will use the same instrument and you will only need to prepare for and take one of the tests. If you're not so lucky, you may "get" to take both.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I have always found that practice tests are the best way to prepare.  The Kaplan ones seem to be straightforward and popular.  My advice is to look at which colleges you are applying to and see which test they prefer.  Some will take either, but some prefer one or the other.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

All the test preparation books you can purchase at your local book store would be useful. I would look for the one that provides you with the most actual practice exercises -- especially in the English grammar section. I would also look to see if the full practice tests give you EXPLANATIONS of the answers so that you have the opportunity to learn from your errors. Being familiar with the test format and time constraints is one of the best ways to prepare for these tests.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The only real difference is that more colleges accept the SAT.  If you know which colleges you would consider attending, look at which test or tests they accept.  Choose whichever test will work for all of them.  But in general, SAT is required by more places.

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