Which test to take, SAT or ACT?

The answer to the question cannot be answered with a comparison between the scores on the tests.

A simple comparison of two test scores does not reveal on which test a students can improve more.

The question should not be which test should I take but on which test can I improve the most.

Only at MEGA PREP can you take a skill assessment quiz (10 minutes long) to determine on which test you can improve the most.


If you have any question, please call us at (800) 738 -1689.


The general guideline:

Students have harder time raising ACT scores than SAT scores.

The problem is their poor reading speed and lack of understanding science passages.


We have at least 50 parents and students asking daily about which test to take SAT or ACT.

The two independent companies Collegeboard and ACT, Inc. have somewhat similar but different approach to assessing a student’s skills.


The two tests are more similar to each other than as were before.

Writing questions are very similar, and thus will not be a factor in choosing which test to take.

The vital factors in choosing which test are analyzing science reading passages, understanding reading passages, and solving word problems in math.





We have summarized a comparison chart that will help you assess which test is right for the student.

Answer “yes” or “no” to each question below to determine which is right for you: SAT or ACT.



Criteria SAT ACT Yes No
Are you a fast reader and do you read often, excluding textbooks? The new SAT requires faster reading speed than the old SAT.  Although similar to the SAT passages, ACT SAT
Are you a good debater or can you argue logically? Level 5 questions (the most difficult) on SAT require that a student identity basis of argument and provide supporting evidence. Approximately 5 to 10 questions on SAT are level 5. Since ACT is more of an English comprehension test, it has very few level 5 question types. However, since the curve is very steep, to get high scores, a student must be able to solve these questions. SAT ACT
Do you tend to find reason for what you just read? More than 50% of the questions ask the reader to assess the function of the paragraph, sentence, or word(s). Except for a few problems, most questions are based on the interpretation of the passage.
Thus, the test seems easier but it really is not because the higher level questions are similar to the SAT questions.
Can you concentrate throughout the whole test? Although at the top the curve is steep, overall, the curve is more forgiving. The curve on ACT is brutal and penalizes students for making a very few mistakes. ACT SAT
Do you tend to get nervous? SAT is comprised of four sections and essay, but two of the sections are on Math. ACT is a longer test with more sections, and it will require a student to concentrate for longer hours. SAT ACT
Do you have less than 3 years of studying in US or English speaking countries? SAT requires less reading skills than reasoning skills. ACT is more of a English comprehension test based on the materials taught in school. SAT ACT
Can you organize what you just read into a coherent structure? SAT requires organizing author’s ideas, as the questions are based on the function of each part. Answering higher level ACT questions, which are indispensable to getting a score above 33, requires the same organization skills. SAT ACT
Do you remember what was read when you get to the end of the passage, meaning can you remember what you just read without going over the text again? SAT has eliminated sentence completion section, and thus scoring high depends on remembering what was read rather than how many words a student can memorize. ACT reading passage questions are not ordered according to the reading material, so a student needs to remember what was read. ACT SAT
Are you good in math? Since two sections of SAT  are on Math, students with good math skills will score higher on SAT than ACT. ACT math questions require complete focus as the curve is much more steep. SAT ACT
Are you good in word problems in math? The one whole section on the SAT is dedicated to Math word problems. Most of ACT math is on interpreting words into math. However, ACT has only one math section. SAT ACT
Are you good in reading graphs and charts? SAT has some graphs and charts, but they are elementary compared to ones in ACT. ACT science section is all about reading graphs, charts, and lab reports. ACT SAT
Can you identify the source of the difference between different experiments or passages? SAT reading requires some graph and chart analysis but is not as difficult as those on ACT. ACT science section requires comparing three to four different lab reports, charts, and graphs. ACT SAT
Are you familiar with basic scientific jargons and notations? Although SAT deal with scientific finding and journals, it requires very little background knowledge in science. ACT science passages assume that you have taken science courses in high school. ACT SAT
Have you done lab work at school? SAT passages require very minimal knowledge in science. Since ACT science is all about lab reports and findings, lab work in school is imperative. ACT SAT


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