MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
THE "NEW" SAT & ACT
The major differences to keep in mind are:
1) ACT questions tend to be more straightforward. However the ACT has stricter time limits for answering each question than the SAT.
2) The SAT reading section has stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
3) The ACT has a separate science section. This section is essentially a combination reading comprehension & data analysis. No background knowledge of the topics in these passages is required.
The "new" SAT on the other hand, doesn't have a separate science section. However, the reading section includes one 10 question science-related "double-passage".
4) Both exams test the same advanced math concepts (arithmetic, algebra I & II, geometry & trigonometry).
Basic formulas are provided on the "new" SAT, while no formulas are provided on the ACT.
Use of calculators is permitted for all math questions on the ACT, whereas on the SAT, there is 1 math section which does not permit the use of calculators.
5) Since both exams essentially test the same knowledge & skills, prep for both exams is very similar. In fact, as a general rule, proper prep for either one of these exams often yields score increases on the other exam as well!!!
6) When you take the SAT, the College Board will forward all test scores from all test dates to the colleges you're applying to unless you select "Score Choice". However, if "Score Choice" is selected, an "SC" will appear on your SAT score report which indicates that only select scores are being forwarded.
With the ACT, you decide which test date scores you wish to submit, if any. There is nothing on ACT score report to indicate how many ACT tests you actually took.
7) Most colleges do super score SAT test results. (That is, they combine the best test score from each section of each test date submitted).
However, many colleges do not super score ACT test results.