Thanks to the folks at Applerouth for an awesome SAT vs ACT Pictograph (you will need to fill out a form to gain access to the resource). No joke, Applerouth’s comparison might be the best way to look at the two different tests. While there is no mention of the difference between the two essay formats, Applerouth’s pictograph is a great way to compare the two different assessments. Some key points:
There is much more Geometry on the ACT compared to the SAT
The SAT tests vocabulary-in-context questions more than the ACT
Both tests tackle the grammar and the structure questions in the Writing/English multiple choice sections
When comparing the two tests, students are recommended to do the following:
Take practice tests for both the SAT and ACT: Ideally a student can take both tests in an official setting, but students can conduct their own practice test by using a test from a study guide. Be sure to use an official study guide from the makers of the tests so that the test is as realistic as possible. For the SAT, be sure to use one from the most recent study guide book since the format has changed.
Compare scores and experiences from both tests: After the practice tests, score the tests and compare the practice test score to the goal score. The goal score is the score a student needs to get into the school of his or her choice. In addition to comparing the scores, also compare the experience of the practice test. Was one test easier? Did one take more time?
Decide: Based on the scores and experiences, focus test prep on one of the tests. You may want to be sure that the colleges will accept either the SAT or the ACT, but most do. Assuming a student can do either the SAT or the ACT, test prep should focus on one test only.
Take it Again: After some dedicated prep, take the test again officially. On average, a student will increase their score from the first official sitting to the second. Some students event see a bump on the third sitting. Regardless, be sure to plan to take it again to see those scores increase.