SAT® and ACT® Test Difference

Q. What’s the difference between the SAT® and ACT® tests for college entrance?

A. Both the SAT® (Scholastic Aptitude Test) exam and the ACT® (American College Testing) exam measure college readiness. A high school student who is planning to enter a four-year college as a freshman usually takes either the SAT® exam or the ACT® test in either the spring of the junior year or the fall of the senior year. It is one of three factors a college considers for admissions—a transcript and extracurricular activities are also considered. College websites will indicate the test they prefer.

Both tests cover reasoning; verbal; reading comprehension; and math skills such as pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The tests are multiple-choice and are timed. A student can take the test several times and submit the best score.

The SAT® exam focuses on logic, vocabulary, and reasoning. It takes about three hours and 45 minutes to complete. The cost is about $51, and you can register online at The homeschool high school code is 970000.

The ACT® test focuses more on subject content and includes science reasoning. It takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $36.50-$52.50. You can register online at The homeschool high school code is 969-999.

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