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:
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]
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]
Vicente, an expert tutor, was born in Lima, Peru, where he obtained an B.S.E.E. from the National Engineering University Lima-Peru. He later earned an M.S.E.E. and M.B.A from NJIT in Newark, NJ.
He worked for Nextel, Sprint and AT&T for 16 years as senior RAN engineer and capacity plan manager. He has tutored high school students for the past 6 years in math and physics with great results.
Vicente takes great pride in helping students excel beyond their expectations and achieve success.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Tom, an expert tutor, is a graduate of Montclair State University. Specializing in social studies education, Thomas has been committed to providing students with engaging lessons and has worked with many different grade levels. Through Montclair State University, Thomas has learned a vast amount of techniques to best serve his students. Thomas has also earned his graduate degree from Louisiana State University in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to social studies education, Thomas has also worked as a writing and reading coach for college students, helped individuals obtain their GED, and tutored students in preparation for the SAT/ACT. Thomas is currently working as a teacher in Livingston, NJ. In his spare time, Thomas likes to read, play volleyball, and do volunteer work with various charities.... [More About Tom Montesion]
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]
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]
Vasileios, a master tutor, has more than 10 years of experience as a full-time Professor at prestigious institutions of higher education, such as George Washington University, Baruch College, Stevens Institute of Technology and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Statistics, an M.Sc in Finance and a B.Sc in Mathematics.
Vasileios has taught Mathematics, Statistics and Economics/Finance at all levels, both undergraduate and graduate levels. He enjoys teaching all Math subjects, as well as the quantitative and analytics sections of GRE/GMAT/SAT tests. Aside from teaching, Vasileios also worked in the Financial Industry as a Quantitative Analyst, Data Scientist, and Econometrician.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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