The ACT and SAT are different tests that measure similar but distinct constructs. The ACT measures achievement related to high school curricula, while the SAT measures general verbal and quantitative reasoning.
To help you zero in on the right exam, here are seven key differences:
1. ACT questions tend to be more straightforward.
ACT questions are often easier to understand on a first read. On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you’re being asked before you can start solving the problem. For example, here are sample questions from the SAT essay and the ACT writing test (their name for the essay):
SAT: What is your view of the claim that something unsuccessful can still have some value?
ACT: In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating?
2. The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary.
If you’re an ardent wordsmith, you’ll love the SAT. If words aren’t your thing, you may do better on the ACT.
3. The ACT has a Science section, while the SAT does not.
You don’t need to know anything about amoebas or chemical reactions for the ACT Science section. It is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a given set of facts. But if you’re a true science-phobe, the SAT might be a better fit.
4. The ACT tests more advanced math concepts.
In addition to basic arithmetic, algebra I and II, and geometry, the ACT tests your knowledge of trigonometry, too. That said, the ACT Math section is not necessarily harder, since many students find the questions to be more straightforward than those on the SAT.
5. The ACT Writing Test is optional on test day, but required by many schools.
The 25-minute SAT essay is required and is factored into your writing score. The 40-minute ACT writing test is optional. If you choose to take it, it is not included in your composite score — schools will see it listed separately. Many colleges require the writing section of the ACT, so be sure to check with the schools where you are applying before opting out.
6. The SAT is broken up into more sections.
On the ACT, you tackle each content area (English, Math, Reading and Science) in one big chunk, with the optional writing test at the end. On the SAT, the content areas (Critical Reading, Math and Writing) are broken up into 10 sections, with the required essay at the beginning. You do a little math, a little writing, a little critical reading, a little more math, etc. When choosing between the SAT and ACT, ask yourself if moving back and forth between content areas confuse you or keep you energized?
7. The ACT is more of a “big picture” exam.
College admissions officers care about how you did on each section of the SAT. On the ACT, they’re most concerned with your composite score. So if you’re weak in one content area but strong in others, you could still end up with a very good ACT score and thus make a strong impression with the admissions committee.
ACT Test Dates:
SAT Subject Test Dates/Categories:
Teacher Tutors Simulated Exams for SAT/ACT Tutoring.
Our SAT/ACT Tutors are qualified and ready to help meet your tutoring needs. Browse through our SAT/ACT Tutors below:
Aaron, a master tutor, currently teaches 11th-grade English and 9th-grade Creative Writing. He has experience teaching grades 9-12, including AP English Language and Composition, Creative Writing, as well as Shakespeare's major works. Aaron has extensive tutoring and test prep experience. He has assisted many student in preparing for the SAT and ACT exams. In addition, he has assisted students in preparing for the ISEE, SSAT, and WrAP exams. He takes his time to carefully explain and break down content in a way that is palatable because he feels that many students are intimidated by the daunting quantity and quality of academia that is aligned with standardized testing; part of his job is alleviating that intimidation by breaking down the test and dissecting it piece by piece with the students. Aaron is very skilled at refining college essays and guiding students through the application process. He sees himself as a facilitator of precise writing and critical reading. Aaron immerses himself along with his students in the art of writing by modeling the edits and revisions. His students have shown growth in their test-taking abilities and they enjoy his energetic enthusiasm; making questions/content relevant to students which helps tremendously in their retention of information. Aaron values independent practice work in order to maintain consistency and promote diligent work habits. Aaron caters to the cognitive needs of all students.... [More About Aaron ROSEN]
Alexandra, an expert tutor, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and her interest in acting helps bring a lot of energy and creativity into her instruction. She also completed a double minor in Literature and British Studies, and is well versed in many kinds of literature from America, England, and around the world. She received her Masters in Education in 2014 and is certified to teach secondary English in New Jersey. Alexandra has extensive experience tutoring SAT and ACT English, Reading, and Essay sections. She has also tutored students in the reading section of the ISEE, and helped many students brainstorm and create the perfect college admissions essay. All of her students have gotten into the college they wanted! She has extensive knowledge of grammar and essay structure and experience in helping students one on one with essay writing. Alexandra decided to go into tutoring because she loved the idea getting students comfortable in a personal learning environment so that they could gain skills that would help them in later life.... [More About Alexandra Landau]
Albert, a master tutor, was awarded a M.Ed. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is currently working on his Ed.D. at Seton Hall University. In addition to pursuing his Doctorate, Al currently works as a Mathematics/ELA and Leadership Coach in several school districts. He has been an educator and senior educational administrator in New Jersey for more than 18 years. He has worked as a teacher, a central office administrator, an assistant principal, and a high school principal. Al gained valuable experience working in various counties across the state of New Jersey. He has a keen understanding of the needs, inadequacies and challenges of providing special services to students with special needs.... [More About Albert Gilson]
Amanda, a master tutor, has an M.Ed. from Rutgers University, as well as an M.A. in international affairs from the American University of Paris. Amanda is a passionate, creative and energetic teacher of French with an extensive background in ESL. As a teacher, she works closely with her students to make sure they acquire not only the material at hand, but also the skills needed to continue learning on their own. Amanda has been teaching in the classroom for 10 years on 3 continents in various countries including the U.S., France, China and South Korea. She has been the teacher adviser for the French honor society, the book club and the soccer club. She has tutored students in preparation for the SAT as well. Amanda is also an avid fan of history and literature. In her free-time she enjoys travel, reading and visiting museum exhibits.... [More About Amanda Mauder]
Albert, a master tutor, has a decade of experience as a private tutor, alongside impeccable educational credentials and numerous commendations and certifications, Albert is a consummate master of Mathematics, teaching all levels, from elementary through college curricula. His specialties comprise of: Algebra, Algebra 2, Calculus, and Basic Math. He also tutors a wide range of standardized tests.
For Albert, tutoring isn't work; it’s a fulfilling activity that he would jump at the chance to do. He likes being a positive influence in a student’s life and enjoy using his knowledge to help them succeed in school.
He has been academically savvy throughout my life. He is a consistent honors student in high school and college, while consistently active in extracurricular activities. Albert was previously trained at several tutoring organizations as a math and test prep tutor, and also taught students in the North NJ areas.
Currently, he is working toward Teaching Certification from a comprehensive and rigorous education program.... [More About Albert Appouh]
PanteA, a master tutor, received her PhD in Film Studies from the University of Dortmund in Germany before immigrating to the United States in 2007. She also received 30 credits in math, and is an experienced math professor at several local colleges and universities. She is also an experienced tutor, helping students prepare for the ACT and SAT. PanteA is fluent in Farsi and German and can tutor in these languages as well.... [More About Pantea Bahrami]
Brandon, an expert tutor, is a very talented tutor who has helped students excel in mathematics and science. He is skilled at making complicated subjects appear seamless. Brandon tutors elementary math, middle school math, algebra I/II, geometry, trig, pre-calc and calculus as well as statistics. In addition, Brandon is well versed in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Brandon received a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT. He is a talented test prep tutor, chess and math and science tutor. He enjoys helping students to develop skills and confidence. In his spare time, Brandon likes to play and watch basketball.... [More About Brandon Sung]
Chris has a Ph.D. in English and has taught and tutored writing and literature on the high school and college levels for over 25 years. He is passionate about all students' achieving their utmost potential and loves being present for those "a-ha moments" when learners move from confusion to understanding.... [More About Chris Nugent]
Cheryl, a master tutor, is highly experienced with a Bachelor's Degree in English Language and Literature from Boston University and a Masters Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She has been tutoring English to Middle and High School students for seven years. She focuses on Writing, Reading Comprehension, Study Skills, Grammar and SAT/ACT preparation. Prior to her work as a tutor, Cheryl taught English at Livingston High School. She also worked as a writer and editor for many years. In her free time, Cheryl enjoys practicing yoga and walking her golden retriever, Jake.... [More About Cheryl Trenk]
Cynthia, a master tutor, is a professional writer with 20 years experience in publishing educational textbooks. She has been tutoring and substitute teaching for over 10 years. She teaches SAT/ACT College Test Prep - specializing in English Grammar, Reading and Writing. Cynthia is an avid historian, and her love of historical fiction led her to study to tutor the AP US History "APUSH" exam. She travels frequently and loves helping English Language Learners conquer ESL. In her free time, Cynthia loves to read, play mah jong, and cook. But, if she could stay in school her whole life she would!... [More About Cynthia Chazen]
Dean, a master tutor, hopes each student will discover academic enjoyment. He started tutoring in high school, continued as a college student attending the University of Pennsylvania, and has been one ever since he graduated and returned to the New Jersey area. He previously taught SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Test preparation courses and worked for Montclair State University as an Upward Bound Summer Instructor introducing incoming students to college-level English. Dean focuses on one-on-one tutoring but is just as comfortable teaching in a small group and classroom setting. When not tutoring students, Dean works full-time as an IT professional for a global exposition company. In his free time, Dean serves as an adult literacy volunteer and teaches digital literacy courses for individuals with limited exposure to technology.... [More About Dean Garcia]
Erin, a master tutor, attended Cornell University and majored in Mathematics. Immediately after graduation, she moved to Washington, DC, to work towards her Masters in the Art of Teaching at American University with a focus on Secondary Math Education. Since then she has been teaching middle and high school math. Erin recently moved to New Jersey, where she is now teaching high school Mathematics. She loves mathematics and loves to share that passion with her students!... [More About Erin Goers]
Ebony, a master tutor, is a highly qualified English teacher of grades 6-12. She holds a M.Ed. along with a certification to teach students with disabilities. Ebony is currently working as a teacher in Roselle. She has tutoring experience and also a background in assisting students pursing higher education (college applications, personal statements, college essay, etc.). She has a passion for teaching and helping students reach their highest potential.... [More About Ebony Potts]
Gerald, a master tutor, is a retired high school teacher. Gerald spent over forty years teaching various subjects in two high schools; everything from Math and Science to History and even Latin and Spanish I. During this time, he also tutored helping numerous students gain a better understanding of the material, pass their courses, and regain their sense of pride and confidence. Since retiring from full-time high school teaching, Gerald has taught GED/HSE classes in all four subject areas. Gerald is currently an adjunct professor at Saint Peter's University as well as Hudson County Community College, where he instructs in both the Sociology and the Education Departments.... [More About Gerald Grimmeyer]
Nick, an expert tutor, is a graduate of Montclair State University with a degree in Molecular Biology. He has a passion for teaching especially topics pertaining to life sciences and he enjoys communicating information to others. Nick is currently applying to Medical School. Studying for the MCAT gives him a strong background with materials often covered in Science classes in schools across the nation. Nick has been both a peer tutor for fellow science majors, and a teacher of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Montclair State. His background in teaching a variety of practices allows his to instill many traits such as discipline, creativity, and resourcefulness, to name a few needed to succeed in demanding environments in others. He offers an open setting where individuals can feel their way through the material which aims to give students a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Nick's passions include science, BJJ, reading, and listening to podcasts.... [More About Nicholas Jascewsky]
Lauren, a master tutor, is looking forward to her M.A. in social studies education at Columbia University. During her undergraduate career, she was a tutor for her college, focusing in writing and reading strategies. is currently, a 5th year high school history teacher in New Jersey. She teaches students of all ability levels, and has experience working with students with special needs. She specializes in writing and critical reading strategies and help for both standardized assessments and school-help.... [More About Lauren Wells]
Valeryia, a master tutor, earned her degree in Sociology from Belorussian State University in Minsk, Belarus. She also studied Sociology and Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. When she moved to the US, Valeryia furthered her studies by earning a Masters in French at Montclair State University. Veleryia is a very experienced teacher and tutor in both French and Russian. She has taught on both the high school and college levels, and looks forward to working with students to further improve their foreign language skills.... [More About Valeryia Morozov]
Laurence, a master tutor, having graduated Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics, and Rutgers University with a B.A. in Chemistry. He started tutoring when he was fourteen years old. A neighbor asked him to help her daughter with pre-algebra and he obliged. He must have been good, because soon after, he was being asked by other parents to help their children with math and science. When he began tutoring, he discovered that he enjoyed helping other people learn. Laurence has found that there is nothing more rewarding that seeing the light of comprehension click on in a student's eyes when they've suddenly understood something. By the time he graduated high school, Laurence had tutored more than a dozen people. Over the past twleve years, Laurence have enjoyed tutoring immensely. Laurence tutors: pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus I/AB, calculus II/BC, high school physics, AP physics I, AP physics II, AP physics C, general relativity, quantum mechanics, special relativity, high school chemistry, AP chemistry, and several other subjects. Laurence has also helped prepare students for the math portion of the SAT.... [More About Laurence Giordano]
Born abroad and taught in private Montessori schools, George is a native British English speaker and can tutor in both UKSE (United Kingdom Standard English) and GenAmSE (General American Standard English). He has taught grades 7-12, from foundational Language Arts to Honors and Pre-AP courses. He currently teaches Honors World Literature, Honors American Literature, and Journalism.
He has worked with the NJ Department of Education on its most recent state curriculum revision committee in 2018 and has presented workshops on student-centered learning with the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English. He was awarded the 2018 Teacher for the Dream Award by NJCTE for his advocacy in increasing the representation of people of color in humanities and education programmes.
George is experienced in tutoring students to succeed in high stakes tests, such as the NJASK, HSPA, PARCC, SAT, and Advanced Placement exams, specializing in writing composition and analysis of informational texts. His favorite genre to read and teach is the essay. He loves helping students find their voices and strengthen their command of the written word. His goal is to see all his students demonstrate academic growth and success, whether it's improving their basic literacy or refining their analytical and rhetorical skills.... [More About George Salazar]
Martin, a master tutor, is a highly motivated math and science tutor with over 15 years of experience. He has over 10 years of hands-on experience working as a research chemist in Research & Development (R&D), developing consumer goods with scientific knowledge and research. Martin is patient, articulate and able to convey science concepts to his students with everyday examples that makes science fun and interesting. Martin believes that with hard work, focus and determination, students can master and enjoy science as well as improve their school grades. In his free time, Martin enjoys basketball, soccer and solving word problems, Sudoku, and logic puzzles.... [More About MARTIN ASARE]
Mike, a master tutor, has graduated from McNair High in Jersey City and was recruited for basketball at Centenary College in Hackettstown New Jersey. While at Centenary, he was invited to attend a M.I.P (Mathematics Is Power) program at Stevens Tech in Hoboken. He placed first on the entrance exam and first on the post test for completing Calculus II. Mike has been teaching for twelve years on the high school level. His motto is that mathematics is life, and life is logic. Students have the ability to understand mathematics at any level. math is not magic and tricks, it is just logic.... [More About Michael Jeter]
Mike, a master tutor, knows that no one excels at everything all of the time. His goal as your child's tutor is to help her or him through the rough spots and to teach strategies to help your child gain strength, confidence, and master skills. As a New Jersey certified teacher, he is familiar with modern pedagogy and expected grade-level appropriate skill sets from writing and grammar through understanding Shakespeare and modern classics. Mike has experience teaching at the high school level. He has worked with students in basic skills programs and those in honors courses. Mike is passionate about literature and composition and has a talent for making written words come to life. Mike has a very passionate and energetic approach to teaching and enjoys when students become enthusiastic about their writing. He looks forward to the opportunity to help students see their potential and achieve beyond their goals.... [More About Mike Skara]
Milan, an experienced tutor and medical student, graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and studied Astronomy. He has over seven years of tutoring and teaching experience. His primary subjects are math through Calculus 3, various STEM classes, SAT, ACT, SSAT, and AP exams. In addition, he golfed at the collegiate level at a D-1 school. In his free time, he enjoys following all sports including football and golf.... [More About Milan Mistry]
Melissa, an expert tutor, is an enthusiastic high school history teacher with experience working with diverse learners. A graduate of Seton Hall University, and currently employed by Newark Public Schools, she is certified to teach US History, World History, Sociology, Geography and Political Science. She has taught students at different grade levels including 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th. Melissa also has experience tutoring students for the PARCC, PSAT and SAT and her students showed a tremendous growth in test scores. Her strengths as an educator include creating hands-on interactive activities to help students understand the material, and working with low-level readers to build confidence and ability. Melissa also pulls on her 10 plus years of experience working in summer camps to infuse traditional lessons with elements of experiential learning.... [More About Melissa Silva]
Brian, a master tutor, is an experienced middle school teacher. He holds NJ State Certifications in Special Education, Social Studies, and K-6 Elementary School Education. He is also highly qualified in Mathematics and Science. He taught most recently as a 7th and 8th Grade Middle School Social Studies and ELA Teacher in the Somerville Public School District. Brian has worked extensively with special and general education students.
Brian graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ramapo Collge with an M.A. in Special Education. Prior to that, Brian graduated from Montclair State University in 2013 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Philosophy, as a member of Phi Alpha Theta: National History Honor Society. Topics and areas of expertise in mathematics: fractions, probability, ratios, word problems, linear equations, long division, algebra I, 2-D geometry, abstract numbers, and much more. Topics and areas of expertise in social studies/history including colonial, revolutionary, civics, geography, Civil War, African American history, Greco-Roman history.
Brian has tutored students from first-grade through junior college in urban and suburban settings. He brings a focus and dedication to his craft that inspires his clients. With an understanding that learners are individuals, Brian excels in presenting educational material using various strategies, in order to accommodate the learning strengths of his clients including visual, auditory, or kinesthetic modalities. Brian has worked with children across the academic and behavioral spectrum. Whenever possible Brian enjoys geocaching, reading epic fantasy novels, studying geopolitics, following pro sports, discovering adventures with his wife, and learning from his two young children.... [More About Brian ONeil]
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