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Which entrance exam is right for you?

Most US Universities accept both the SAT or the ACT entrance exams (a few don't require either, for a list go to the Fairtest organisation), so it is up to you which to take. You can check the admission criteria for the Universities you are interested in here. In the UK, fewer people have heard of the ACT, but it is increasing in popularity. In fact more people take the ACT worldwide than the SAT. In May 2016, there was a new SAT syllabus released which is now the only syllabus for new students.

To help you decide we advise you to take a sample test for the SAT and a sample test for the ACT. After completing the sample tests, you should look at the concordance table, which shows you how the two scores compare. If your scores are similar then you may wish to contact us for further advice.

The following paragraphs outline a few details on the differences between the SAT and ACT entrance exam:

  • Content:
    • SAT is an aptitude test which tests reasoning ability and the ACT is an achievement test and tests depth of knowledge.
    • The SAT is 1/2 English and 1/2 Maths, whereas ACT is half English, 1/4 Maths and 1/4 Science.
    • The SAT has short and varied sections, the ACT has four or five much longer sections.
    • The SAT has a 'easier' Maths content compared to the ACT exam.
  • Timings: There are six chances to take the SAT in a year and only five occasions to take the ACT exam. However more competitive Universities require both the SAT reasoning test and SAT subject tests, which would require two test dates; the ACT exam only ever requires one test date.
  • Test Centres: There are many more test centres in the UK for the SAT exam, than the ACT exam, but they do get booked up quickly, especially in London.
  • Test length: The New SAT reasoning exam (without the essay) and the ACT (without the writing section) are both around 3 hours long.
  • Scoring: Neither exam now penalises you for wrong answers and both exams compare your score to everyone else's score on that test on that day worldwide.

At MathsGeeks USA we can advise you whether to take the SAT or ACT entrance exam so contact us now or go to College Board and ACT website for more information.

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