Comparison of the the Sat and Act Tests Essay Example

The SAT and ACT are national tests taken by high school students every year. These tests measure a student in subjects like mathematics and reading. Most two and four-year colleges require one of these tests and an essay to get in. Recently, some states are switching from the SAT to the ACT and vice versa. These states switching could be because students have different options they can choose from, the knowledge needed is different, and how well students tend to do on either test. All of this can cause a student to pick one type of test over the other.

When trying to decide on anything, it is difficult because there are so many options to choose from. The SAT and ACT are no different. Both tests measure a student academically, but what is on the tests are different. On the SAT it includes Reading, Writing and Language, Math (two sections), and writing an essay. The ACT includes English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, and writing an essay. If students choose the ACT then they would have a science section rather than a double math section like in the SAT. Another option students may have that changes their view on which test they want to take is the essay.

On the essay portion of the test, students must write either a comprehension essay (SAT) or an essay that requires an evaluation and analysis of a topic given to them (ACT). Typically, juniors in high school are required to write the essay the first time they take either test. Students also have the option of excluding the essay all together. Most colleges are looking for an essay from either test but recently some colleges are saying that a SAT or ACT essay is not require for getting into their school. For example; major colleges like Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth, have said they are taking the essay requirement from the national tests off their admissions applications. This will help some students who are not a fan of essays but still want to get into an ivy league college to have the option of not writing the essay. Options are important in anything and everything because it could make or break a person.

Each of these two tests have different knowledge needed to complete to earn a high mark. The big knowledge difference is in the math sections of both tests. Students who are good in math would rather take the ACT because it’s more straight to the point-based math than the SAT which includes some reading comprehension in the problems. This would either cause a student to turn away from the either if they don’t like all the reading in the SAT or all the full on based math problems on the ACT. Memorization is needed on the ACT because students aren’t given a formula sheet like on the SAT. Some students aren’t good at memorizing formulas, so this could drive them to take the SAT because of that bonus of a formula sheet.

Most students think that because they did great on the ACT they will do great on the SAT and vice versa, but that is not always true. Students who take either test have a possibility of scoring poorly or highly. It depends on what is on the test and how well the student knows the material. For example, if Susie Smith took one SAT math section and there was a lot of geometry in it and turns out Susie wasn’t good at geometry, then it’s possible she wouldn’t do well. If Susie took the test again but this time it had a lot of algebra in it and Susie did well in algebra, then she would have a better chance of getting a good score. Students sometimes think that just because Bob did good on the ACT that they will also do well on it because they are as smart at Bob.

It really depends on what the student’s strength and weaknesses are in the different subjects. Because of this hard decision to pick a test some sates like North Carolina, and Wisconsin require students take the ACT with the essay while other states like Mississippi, and Nebraska require the ACT but without the essay. This method of the state choosing the test can cause difficulties for some students who aren’t good at reading science data or aren’t great at certain skills in the math section. The state choosing the test can cause a lot of students’ scores to be lower. Letting students pick their own test according to what they know is better than the state choosing.

In conclusion, the ACT and SAT offer a multitude of opportunities for students because without them then students wouldn’t know how to move forward after high school. They wouldn’t know what they are capable of and what they are good at if they don’t take a test that they should be able to pick. These tests are knowledge based and so students need to know what is expected on them if they want to earn a high mark.


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