Frequently Asked Questions
The ACT is composed of four multiple-choice sections: English (75 questions in 45 minutes); Math (60 questions in 60 minutes); Reading (40 questions in 35 minutes); Science (40 questions in 35 minutes); and one optional essay section — Writing (1 essay in 30 minutes).
The SAT is composed of three content areas — Critical Reading, Math and Writing — that are divided into 10 alternating sections of approximately 20-25 minutes each. On the SAT, the essay is mandatory.
Neither test is fundamentally easier than the other. However, each test has unique characteristics that may influence which one is better for you.
One factor could be whether you’re a “tortoise” or a “hare.” The SAT consists of 140 questions, plus a required essay, for a total testing time of 3 hours and 45 minutes. By contrast, the ACT consists of 215 questions plus an optional essay, for a total testing time of 2 hours and 55 minutes without the essay, or 3 hours and 25 minutes with the essay. So you definitely have to work faster to get a good score on the ACT; on the other hand, the SAT is longer and therefore demands more physical and mental endurance.
Another factor could be whether you are more of a “math/science person” or an “English person.” The ACT tests more advanced math concepts (including trigonometry) than the SAT and also includes a science section, which the SAT does not. (Although the ACT science section doesn’t get too in depth, it provides an opportunity for a good science student to showcase his/her skills). In terms of Reading/Writing, ACT Reading passages and questions are more straightforward than those found on the SAT. Also, the ACT does not factor its optional essay into the score and sends it separately to schools.
By contrast, the SAT is all about vocabulary, reading, and writing. SAT Critical Reading passages are convoluted and nuanced, and their corresponding questions tend to be trickily worded. The SAT’s required written essay is factored into the score, giving excellent writers a chance to show off their abilities.
Our Diagnostic Test contains a mix of real SAT/ACT test questions to help pinpoint your academic strengths and weaknesses. The test also contains psychometric questions – i.e. questions designed to gauge your subjective qualities. (Examples include your learning ability, attitude, and personality). Your results from this test will give you a general sense of whether you have more potential for the SAT or ACT. (However, you will need to take full-length SAT and ACT practice tests under real exam conditions in order to know with absolute certainty which test is better for you).
- Hints – High-level hints attached to the questions help students narrow down answer choices and zero in on the right answer
- Concept videos – Short videos created by our experts help students understand the specific concepts they are struggling with
- Solutions – Detailed, step-by-step solutions are available for many questions