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:
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]
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]
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]
Natalie, a master tutor, obtained her B.A. from Saint Peters University and her dual M.A. at Pace University. She holds a standard certificate in English in addition to Students with Disabilities on the secondary level. She is an educator with 5 plus years of experience working with students of all ages. She currently teaches 9th grade for Jersey City Public Schools. She is very good at building a positive relationship with students and understanding what the student is struggling with and providing strategies and ways for the student to master material. Natalie is passionate about her work and loves educating students. Natalie strives to instill a passion for knowledge and learning in her students. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, book discussions, cooking, gardening and traveling the world.... [More About Natalie Parkerson]
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]
Nicole, a master tutor, has a B.A. from Rutgers University and a M.S. from Cornell University in chemistry. She is an educator with over 7 years experience tutoring middle school and high school students. She has tutored extensively; tutoring high school chemistry, SAT chemistry and SAT French. She adapts to the student's needs so as to help them develop their own potential and confidence. She is very patient and friendly and in her spare time, Nicole loves to read, hike and play tennis.... [More About Nicole Riffel]
Nina, a master tutor, graduated from William Paterson University with a BA (majoring in English and minoring in Secondary Education). She got her MA in Special Education at NJCU. Nina taught at Passaic High School for 17 years and Lincoln Middle School for five, before retiring. In order to keep her passion for education alive, Nina continues tutoring. She is a highly-skilled English, reading, and test prep tutor. She is an expert in strategic planning, adept in communicating and engaging students; offer focused, personalized instruction, and differentiated for varying levels of student need. Nina is energetic and flexible at working with diverse individuals to raise scores/grades and measure improvements. She has experienced proven success in: SAT English (Evidence-based Reading and Writing and Language); ACT English (production of writing, knowledge of language, and conventions of standard English) and Reading, as well as essays, writing, (revising, editing, proofreading), critical reading, vocabulary, and grammar. Additionally, Nina can assist with Study and Organization skills; homework help, College application, Accuplacer, and/or Personal Statement/essay. In her spare time, Nina enjoys working out, going to plays in NYC, movies, and travel.... [More About Nina Jacobs]
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]
Paul, a master tutor, graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.S. in mathematics and certificate in secondary education. He is a passionate high school math teacher and is currently a third year teacher at Dover High School. He teaches geometry, algebra II and calculus. Certified to teach all math grades 6-12, Paul also has experience working with gifted and talented students. He has been tutoring students in multiple areas of math such as algebra 1, algebra 2, pre-calculus, calculus, geometry and statistics. He is extensively familiar with SAT math prep, PARCC testing and the Common Core math standards. Paul has numerous hours of professional development; specifically from the graduate school at Drew University. He believes that engaging students in interactive lessons is the most effective way to teach mathematics, ensuring students' complete understanding. In his spare time, Paul loves to play sports to stay active, watch movies and, most importantly, spend quality time with his friends and family.... [More About Paul Richard]
Richard, an expert tutor, earned his M.A.F. and is a literature lover with a M.A. and a film buff with an B.A. in film theory and production. Richard is an adjunct professor of writing at Kean University and Union County College. Richard is a very unique tutor with vast abilities. He is an experienced middle school, high school, and college level tutor. In addition to being a certified secondary school teacher, he is a fiction writer. Richard believes that writing can and should be inspiring, even fun. He does his best to transform the process into one of discovery and excitement. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, reading, and spending time with his family.... [More About Richard Squires]
Ron, a master tutor, is a retired chemical engineer with more than thirty-five years of project management experience. He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering from New York University, and his Master of Engineering from The City College of New York, both in Chemical Engineering. Concurrently with his long-term engineering career, Ron went back to graduate school and obtained a Master of Arts in Education as well as his Professional Clear California State Teaching Credential from Azusa Pacific University. He has more than fifteen years of classroom experience, as both a high school math and science teacher, and adjunct professor of mathematics at Argosy University in California. Throughout his teaching career, Ron has tutored elementary, secondary, and post-secondary students in all levels of mathematics, chemistry, and physics, in both public and private environments. While he was raising his children in Westchester County, New York, Ron served seven years as a Trustee of the Board of Education of the Yorktown Central School District, as well as volunteering for many activities within the district schools. During that same time period, he owned and operated (along with his wife) the Open Day Pre-School in Mohegan Lake, New York. Finally, Ron is a veteran of the United States Army, with active service during the Vietnam War.... [More About Ron Ambrosini]
Ryan, a master tutor, is an educator who graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.S. in mathematics along with completing her certification for teaching, as well as earning her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at Montclair. She is certified in mathematics and currently teaches Algebra I, Algebra II, College Algebra, SAT Prep and Accuplacer Prep. She is a caring and enthusiastic educator looking to share her passion for mathematics and help students overcome their difficulties understanding the many topics that mathematics covers. Ryan has worked with a wide range of students and is dedicated to making sure each student reaches their full academic potential. In her spare time, Ryan likes to spend time outside, hiking, running, and completing other outdoor activities.... [More About Ryan Yaiser]
Sally, an expert tutor, has been a professional educator for the past three years. She has had the pleasure of reaching out to students ranging in all ages in order to assist them with algebra 1 and 2, geometry, and calculus. When she is not assisting students, she's always looking for new ways to expand her knowledge and teaching approaches with fun tactics in order to make the learning process beneficial to not only her but the student as well. Sally has hosted tutoring sessions, made quizzes and tests, and assisted with SATs on multiple occasions.... [More About Sally Amoakoh]
Sarin, an expert tutor, is a undergraduate at Rutgers Honors and Aureus Medical School. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers University in 2009. He then proceeded to graduate medical school within the top 15% of his medical college graduating class in 2013. Sarin is passionate about teaching and would like to inspire, motivate, and teach students to become successful in their academic careers. Sarin tutors various subjects including advanced placement Biology, advanced placement chemistry, advanced placement physics, pre-algebra, algebra I/II, geometry, pre-calculus, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, SAT math (Scored 800), ACT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL. He possesses the integrity and sincerity in serving his community and he affirms that given this opportunity he will fulfill this objective by practicing medicine and giving back to the community by teaching.... [More About Sarin K]
Shari's passion for the study of literature, research and writing has been the focus of her career for over 31 years. She was a high school English teacher in Edison for 8 years. For the past 23 years, she has enjoyed being the librarian of JP Stevens High School in Edison. Shari is passionate about her work because she has the opportunity to interact with and instruct all of the students in the school. Her goal is to help students develop skills necessary to succeed outside of and beyond high school and become lifelong learners. Shari loves spending time with her now adult children! And, in her spare time, she reads, runs and travels.... [More About Shari Stein]
Shellie, a master tutor, graduated from Pennsylvania State University, earning a B.A. in journalism and history. She is an experienced communications executive, former teacher, and adjunct college professor. Her talent is making complex concepts clear and bringing out the best in students challenged by their English courses and examinations. Shellie is available to tutor in all aspects of the English language and written communication: grammar and syntax; literature comprehension; research skills, writing and paper preparation. Shellie also tutors students to prepare for the English and written portions of the ACT, PSAT and ACT exams. Shellie's philosophy is to balance the student's short-term interest in a good grade with the essential long-term need for improving overall writing and critical thinking skills. A student should never become dependent on tutoring. Shellie's focus is to encourage students to think for themselves and to become confident in their own, improving skills.... [More About Shellie Roth]
SiTian, an expert tutor, is currently an undergraduate student at Princeton University. She has over two years of experience working with both middle school and high school students. Her tutoring experience has primarily been in test preparation. SiTian started tutoring in her junior year of high school, working with local high school students in preparation for the SAT's. She spent the summer of her senior year of high school teaching SAT classes in Manhattan. She continues to work with individual students as a volunteer SAT tutor for local Princeton students. SiTian believes in working with students to determine what strategies best suit their learning styles. In her spare time, SiTian likes nothing better than a good book and a hot cup of tea.... [More About SiTian Zhang]
Soon-Mi, is a master tutor. Soon Mi has a B.A. in secondary math education with a 3.58 GPA. She has wanted to be a math teacher ever since she was a sophomore in high school. Over the past 8 years, she has had experience tutoring students from grade 5 up until college. What started as private tutoring, soon became peer tutoring at Bergen Community College. After tutoring adults who sought to return to college or were taking online courses, she became a flexible and adept tutor; tutoring a wide variety of levels simultaneously. She has experience tutoring 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math; pre-algebra, algebra, and algebra 2; pre-calculus, advanced placement calculus AB; advanced placement statistics, and college statistics; high school physics (first year); geometry; and the math portion of the GED and SAT; as well as many college-entry math exams.... [More About Soon Mi Miyazawa]
Sylvana, a master tutor, received her M.Ed. at Seton Hall University. At Seton Hall she also earned an invitation to Sigma Tau Delta, the honors society for English majors. She is a certified k-12 literature & language arts teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience in public and private settings. After turning her attention to individualized educational settings, she has gained over 3 years of experience in SAT and language arts tutoring. Her experience includes enrichment work for high-achieving students as well as remedial students looking to gain comfort with course material. When she's not working with students, she is pursuing her novel writing and getting involved with global soccer media.... [More About Sylvana Budesheim]
Tara, a master tutor, has her M.A. in English/Writing. She has a passion for anything relating to writing or reading. Currently she teaches high school and college level English. She is looking forward to the opportunity to work individually with students. She's excited to develop their English skills and get to know them as individual learners.
Tara teaches English full-time at Chancellor Academy in Pompton Plains. Additionally, she has taught developmental reading, writing and English composition II at Essex County College, Bergen Community College and County College of Morris. At these institutions she also taught English basics skills, English comp I & II, modern literary masterpieces, and public speaking.
Prior to teaching English, Tara worked with pre-k and kindergarten children for over ten years.... [More About Tara Lesko]
Thi Bay, a master tutor, has been immersed in education and academia ranging from overseeing preschool education and teaching K-12 all the way to university lecturing and editing doctoral dissertations and academic journal articles.
Thi Bay began working in education as a K-12 educator for UC Berkeley’s Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program and for the San Francisco’s Head Start Program. Later driven by a desire to provide disadvantaged students with support that extended beyond the classroom, Thi Bay worked for Instituto Familiar de La Raza, a community-based organization providing support to members of immigrant and underserved communities. In addition to facilitating school-based workshops and conducting individualized educational plans (IEPs) she also co-facilitated a theatre group.
Following relocation to New York Thi Bay interned for a Permanent Mission to the United Nations and worked briefly with the International Rescue Committee, leveraging her skills teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) as she also provided refugees with job readiness training.
After a stint in international banking, Thi Bay was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to teach at a University in Vietnam. She taught Social Studies to undergraduate students and a combination of English and American culture to technical experts, government officials, and lecturers. She also created a vocational labor re-integration training program for victims of sex trafficking and volunteered as an English teacher at an orphanage and a Buddhist Monastery.
Thi Bay worked with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam during the 2009 visit to Vietnam of Former US President Jimmy Carter. She lectured at the Vietnamese extension of the Thai-based Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and researched Vietnam’s medical and engineering fields for Doctors without Borders. She edited news for a national newspaper and for news media pilots broadcasted by CNBC Asia. In 2013 she returned to Habitat for Humanity Vietnam as the Resource Development and Communications Manager.
Thi Bay has been a private tutor and an interpreter for the Italian Trade Commission since the late 90s. She has been editing doctoral dissertation since 2008 and in 2011 she also became a corporate Cross-Cultural Trainer. In 2014 Thi Bay returned to New Jersey. She continues to tutor, translate and edit and to occasionally lead National Geographic expeditions.
Thi Bay has a Master in International Affairs (MIA) with a concentration in International Law from Columbia University and a BA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University. Her passions are photography, martial arts, dance, creative writing, and travel.... [More About Thi Bay Miradoli]
Thomas, a master tutor, graduated from Rutgers in 2014, earning his B.A. in mathematics has been teaching/tutoring students since his junior year at Rutgers University. He has worked with students from 3rd grade through 12th grade. He currently works at Cedar Grove High School where he teaches honors geometry, algebra II, and pre-calculus. Math has always been a subject he's enjoyed teaching because although it looks intimidating, it can be so simple when taught properly. One of his great enjoyments is seeing that "light bulb," moment when a student understands a concept and begins to challenge him or herself. He always encourages his students to ask questions and never wants them to be afraid to admit they do not understand something. He loves being able to build connections with his students and find out what they like outside of the classroom. In addition to teaching and tutoring, Thomas also coaches girls soccer and spring track. Sports were a big part of his life growing up and he greatly enjoys being able to share his knowledge with his athletes.... [More About Thomas Moogan]
Tom, a master tutor, is a highly skilled mathematics teacher with more than 7 years of tutoring experience. As a Mathematics teacher in Ramsey, Tom has taught students of all levels and differentiates instruction to meet the needs of his students. He is easy-going and provides a comfortable learning environment to ease the anxieties of a student struggling in math. He has tutored SAT Prep for more than 7 years and has strategies designed to improve scores in the Mathematics section. Tom has written curriculum for the last 4 years and coaches Golf in the spring, He is always looking for new and innovative ways to teach mathematics to make learning more enjoyable.... [More About Thomas Digiore]
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