If you are confused about when you should start to focus on the college prep process, you aren’t alone. It can be overwhelming, but with a bit of planning and guidance, our team at Start Tutors can help take the stress out of choosing which test to take as well as when to take it.
When is the best time of year to take the SAT or ACT?
The SAT is offered seven times each year in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December. The ACT is also offered seven times each year in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July.
Most high school students choose to take a practice test in the summer or fall of their junior year, then take the actual SAT or ACT test in the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year.
SAT vs. ACT — Differences Between the Tests
Previously known as the “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” “Scholastic Assessment Test,” or “SAT Reasoning Test,” it is now simply called the SAT.
The SAT test is three hours long. If you choose to write an optional essay, it is extended by 55 minutes. An important note about the SAT is that there is no science section in this test. Scoring begins at 400, with 1600 being the highest score earned.
The ACT or “American College Testing” adds science reasoning to math and reading. It too has an optional essay portion. The ACT is three hours and forty-minutes long when opting in for the essay. For the ACT, students are permitted to use a calculator for all math questions. Minimum score is 1, and the highest score possible is 36.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of each section of the tests.
Which Test is Right for You?
The right choice can make preparing for college easier. Both tests are administered nationally, and the results offer some insight into how prepared you are to take college-level courses.
All colleges and universities accept both the SAT and ACT and have no preference for one over the other. This means choosing the right test is truly up to you, your preferences, and which test can give you the higher score.
As part of your decision-making process, take this quick quiz to determine if the SAT or the ACT test is better for you:
Keep in mind that taking free practice tests for each may be the best decision you can make. You never know unless you try!