ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take

Begin with a practice test and see which exam is best suited for you

When it comes to the ACT vs. the SAT, both exams are universally accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take?

The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.

Both college admissions exams are wildly popular. In the class of 2018, a reported 2.1 million test-takers completed the SAT and 1.9 million students took the ACT. It is unclear how many students took both, but experts say it is common practice for a test-taker to tackle both exams.

“More and more students in the last five to 10 years are taking both,” says Joe Korfmacher, a former counselor at a New York high school and current director of college counseling at a New York office of Collegewise, an admissions consulting company.

The idea behind both exams is similar: to demonstrate college readiness. But despite similar aims, the tests vary in structure and timing as well as the content matter and scoring.