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Which is harder ACT or SAT?

The question, which test is harder ACT or SAT, is most commonly asked by students in high school. To answer this question, let us first quickly understand the basic differences between ACT and SAT:

Has a science sectionDoes not have a science section
Time per question is lessTime per question is more
Math section has many Geometry questionsMath section has comparatively much less Geometry questions
Math section is all multiple-choice questionsMath section has both multiple choice questions and questions which need own answer
Can use Calculator for all questions in Math sectionMath section has questions for which you cannot use a calculator
Test Section timings are:
Intro: 30 minutes
English: 45 minutes
Math: 60 minutes
Reading : 33 minutes
Science: 35 minutes
Test Section timings are:
Intro: 30 minutes
Reading : 65 minutes
Writing and Language:35 minutes
Math (without calculator):25 minutes
Math(with calculator):55 minutes
Let us go over each difference so you can decide which test will be harder for you. Science Section: If you are weak in Science or are not interested in Science, you will find the ACT Science section tough. SAT on the other hand does not have any Science section. Goes without saying, if you don’t want Science in your college or are weaker in Science, then opt for SAT. Time Factor: ACT has more questions for the test duration compared to SAT. For instance, in the reading section, there will be more pressure to read quickly in ACT. Therefore, if you need more time for reading section, then opt for SAT. Vocabulary: ACT tends to use vocabulary that is more commonly used or simpler compared to SAT. SAT uses vocabulary that is challenging. If your vocabulary is not that strong, opt for ACT. Math Section: ACT has many more questions in Geometry compared to SAT. If you are strong in Geometry then you might favour ACT because you are anyway confident of doing well and what’s more all the questions in Math section are multiple choice and you can also use a calculator. In SAT, the Math section has fewer questions in Geometry BUT some questions are not multiple choice meaning you have to write your own answers and also, for the first 25 minutes in Math section you cannot use a calculator. In conclusion, after going over the comparison between ACT and SAT, deciding whether ACT is harder than SAT for you should not be done only by reading up about the topic. It is better you take the full-length practice test in both ACT and SAT to get a better idea about your performance and then choose based on your strengths. To know more on ACT and SAT, do read some of our other blogs on related topics:

How do you prepare for SAT?
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