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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Anne, an expert tutor, has a bachelor's in elementary education and STEM with a biology specialization. She currently teaches 7th and 8th grade STEM in West Orange, loves to read books, and edits essays and proofreads webtoons.
She is very enthusiastic about science and language arts and has 4 semesters of experience teaching elementary school students.
As a STEM middle school teacher, she emphasizes and hones in on major concepts such as scientific principles, design, measurement, engineering, and hands-on projects among her students. She also has work experiences from summers teaching abroad, Math League tournaments, and camps. She is a prolific reader who has read over 800 books in her lifetime!
Asha, a master tutor, is currently a graduate student at Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Health Sciences, where she maintains a 3.95 GPA. Asha is a highly skilled English, Bio, Physics and Mathematics tutor. She can tutor college-level mathematics, Calculus I, II, III, Differential Equations, Pre-Calc. and Trig. and Algebra I & II. While her long-term professional interests lie in medicine, she is equally passionate about education. In college, she worked on an education project analyzing optimal science instruction methods. She also has extensive tutoring experience, which includes preparation for college entrance exams such as the SAT. Having scored in the 700s across all sections of the SAT herself, she has also helped a number of hard-working students improve their own scores from the 500's to 700's. Asha's tutoring style is modeling problem solving while asking students questions to develop their critical thinking capacity rather than simply handing them answers. Her well-rounded education and personable personality allows her to connect with students with diverse interests and aptitudes. She loves watching students develop academic confidence. In Asha's spare time she enjoy s running, reading and writing.... [More About Asha Singh]
Bob, a master tutor, graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in history and telecommunications management and also earned his M.A. in educational administration. Bob has been a teacher since 1984, and he consider it to be his life’s work. At present he is a history teacher at Madison High School in Madison, where he's taught for 25 years and is an adjunct professor in the history and social science department at Middlesex County College. He also has 8 years experience as an education professor teaching the New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey (NPTNJ) courses, a state-approved alternate route program, at Raritan Valley Community College. Bob believes that students respond to creative, focused, personalized instruction, and that's how he approaches tutoring and teaching. He also strives to give his students the confidence and skills to succeed in any academic endeavor. When he's not teaching, Bob likes to swim, walk, read and tell funny stories.... [More About Bob Grundfest]
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]
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]
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]
Chesley, an expert tutor, graduated Montclair State University with a B.A. in English. She is a certified teacher of English and a professional tutor with experience in facilitating all of the vital reading comprehension and writing skills necessary to succeed at middle/high school, on standardized tests and beyond. She has worked at top rated learning centers as well as in student homes helping to build crucial verbal skills. She offers help with the verbal portions of entrance exams such as SSAT/ISEE, SAT, and ACT. Lessons include vocabulary building, exam strategies, timed practice, and homework. Chesley's services as an English tutor also include (but are not limited to) college application essay help, homework help, language arts enrichment, reading comprehension, proofreading, and grammar. Chesley has also worked as a freelance writer and enjoys singing and spending time with her daughter.... [More About Chesley Maldonado]
Craig, a master tutor, has a B.A. in English from UCLA and a M.Ed. in film production from USC, where he received a prestigious merit scholarship award for outstanding editing. Craig is a writer, filmmaker, and educator with 5 years of experience teaching, writing, and film studies at the undergraduate level. Craig has worked in the motion picture industry as a production manager, screenwriter, and producer, working closely with writers and directors to help them realize their ideas on screen. He now enjoys using these listening and partnering skills with students of all ages to help them express themselves with clear and compelling language. Craig continues to write and to consult with other screenwriters. In his spare time, Craig is an avid photographer and loves to hike, read, and discuss ideas with his own school-aged children.... [More About Craig Weisz]
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]
Dave, a master tutor, graduated from Rutgers with a B.A. in history and religion. He tutors in k-12 social studies and history, including all of the pertinent advanced placement tests (US/world/European history, macroeconomics, human geography, etc). He also tutors the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT, and the reading and English sections of the ACT. Dave can also teach advanced placement music theory and instruct in basic guitar and bass guitar. He is available in Bergen County on weeknights, Essex County on weekends, and online.... [More About Dave Imbriaco]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Mark, a master tutor, is an educator with over 25 years of experience teaching college English and writing. He has a B.A. from Wesleyan University, a M.A. from Georgetown, and a Ph.D ABD from Temple University in English and American literature. Mark also has experience teaching the SAT verbal section. Currently he teaches English and writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University, County College of Morris, and Raritan Valley Community College. His teaching philosophy is that while maintaining high standards in academia, he can then devote himself to being his pupil's ally in achieving those standards. Mark is a fitness fanatic and runner while also having a passion for social service and volunteering.... [More About Mark Raines]
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]
Matt, an expert tutor, is an educator with a background in journalism, philosophy, business, and Chinese language arts (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects). Since 2005, Matt has participated in various Vassar College academic programs, traveling to major cities in China, as well as Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, Paris and Berlin for academic research and tutoring local students in those cities. As a result, he has completed research projects focusing on cross-cultural comparisons and learning styles in different countries. He has also worked as a business news journalist and researcher. Matt has experience working with elementary, middle and high school students both in the states and abroad. He believes in using interactive technologies and real-world examples to make tutoring fun and relevant for students. His familiarity and experiences with traditional and innovative teaching methods help students of different levels and backgrounds learn at their potential.... [More About Matthew Leung]
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