Which test is more favourable for colleges, the SAT or the ACT?

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Most colleges in the US require SAT or ACT scores, but there are still a few that are “test-optional,” meaning you don’t have to submit it if you don’t want to. It depends on what college you are applying to. If you are applying to colleges in the U.S, then it is preferable that you give an SAT at-least once. But there are some colleges that do not demand any of the above. So lookup on the colleges you are applying to and see whether they require any of the above test scores. If yes, you should give it.

The ACT is “more popular.”

Well, at least you could argue that given recently reported numbers (at least the most recent numbers I’ve been able to find). Reported as recently as 2015, the ACT had 1,924,436* takers vs. the SAT which had approximately 1,700,000** test takers.

Traditionally, the SAT before 2011 was “more popular” or at least taken more than the ACT, but starting in that year, the latter exam took over and has grown to this gap of over 200,000 students.

However, colleges/admissions teams are happy to accept both.

I think you’re aiming for an answer by the Admissions officers who will never speak publicly about their preferences. You can look for verbiage on admissions pages per college, but you will see in the language for almost EVERY SINGLE UNIVERSITY which requires either exam that EITHER exam is fine. –Brandon Na

At this point, virtually all colleges accept both and don’t look more favourably at either one.

The difference in popularity tends to be more about student geography. Students (and schools) on the Coasts have traditionally taken the SAT. Students in the Midwest have traditionally taken the ACT. All of that is changing rapidly. According to some students, colleges do not prefer one over the other. Every reputable school accepts either in the US. Take them both. Some scientifically-minded students find they do better with the ACT.

1. SAT Mathematics is easier than the ACT.
2.ACT has a science section but the SAT doesn’t.
3. SAT writing section is compulsory but ACT writing is optional
4. SAT focuses more on vocabulary but ACT doesn’t.
So Analyze your strengths and weaknesses by yourself and choose wisely.

The advantage of the ACT is that many schools will waive the subject SAT if you submit the ACT. However, colleges of engineering will generally want a subject SAT (Math and Physics) regardless.

This depends on a few criteria – in Michigan, the state has switched from the ACT to the SAT as their required junior year state test, so it only makes sense to focus on the SAT only. –Amy Lesemann.

The difference between the two tests is in the way they test their materials. The universities won’t be rejecting you based on the fact that you gave the SAT and not ACT. It depends on you really. They test similar things and are both about the same length in time. They are also both accepted by all schools, although not all require them. Try taking a practice test for both, and see which you score better on.

Although colleges seem to use them as equivalent, the SAT and ACT have very different styles. SAT is designed to measure aptitude, whereas the ACT measures knowledge. That said, many students will be better at one than the other. –Rachel Jakes

Personally, I think the ACT is easier. I understand the concern for wasting money, but as previous answers have said, sometimes there’s a cap to how high you can score on a particular test.

My advice is to prepare like nobody’s business for the ACT, enough so you feel like you have equal expertise in the ACT and SAT, even though you’ve only taken the SAT for real. Then, give the ACT a whirl; you may be pleasantly surprised.

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