Deciding whether to take the new SAT versus the ACT, or both? All four-year colleges will accept either of these standardized tests to evaluate candidates. Since both of these tests have different areas of focus, so you may receive a surprisingly higher score on one versus the other. Depending on your abilities, you may be better equipped to take the ACT than the SAT, or vice versa. As you begin to plan for college and create your application packages, consider the content, structure, and scoring for both of these national tests.
Recently, the curriculum-based ACT has been gaining more popularity with test takers than the traditional SAT. The ACT is an achievement test, which evaluates students on what they’ve learned in school. Beginning in the spring of 2015, the ACT will be offered as a computer-based test. The ACT has four main components, including English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing Test. There are 215 multiple-choice questions in the ACT, with individual scoring based on a scale of 1-36. A composite score is also included with the whole number average of the four test portions. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so guessing is encouraged. Time allotted for the ACT is 3 hours and 30 minutes, including the optional 30-minute essay portion. Expect questions on the ACT to be more straightforward, with less emphasis on vocabulary. For those with an aptitude in math and science, the ACT will test your knowledge with more advanced concepts.
The redesigned SAT test will be starting in March 2016 for students to take.To assess college readiness, the SAT will measure your understanding of concepts learned in the classroom. The 2016 SAT will more closely resemble the ACT. Major changes include relevant vocabulary usage, evidence-based writing, analyzing content sources, concentrated math areas, and analyzing history and science. The total timing of the SAT will be 3 hours and 50 minutes, including the optional essay. There will be fewer multiple-choice questions and no penalty for wrong answers. The SAT will have a 1600 point scale and more complex scoring, to measure your individual strengths and weaknesses. The main components of the new SAT include Reading and Writing test, Math test, Essay test. You will now receive subscores and insight scores, with the essay portion scored separately.