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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

ACT is easier than SAT?

DreamDream Registered User Posts: 391 Member
edited November 2013 in ACT Preparation
I heard from many many people that it's easier to get a better score in ACT than in SAT.

I heard that there are no tricks and stuff and u can basically study on your own without a help from other people (tutor, I guess).

But then don't colleges know that I took ACT because it is easier than the SAT and so they are not really impressed by my score?

well.. maybe I'm just totally wrong =)
Post edited by Dream on

Replies to: ACT is easier than SAT?

  • ArtiArti Registered User Posts: 617 Member
    Colleges that actually accept the ACT usually weigh it the same as the SAT.

    The ACT is definitely more objective than the SAT. For me, the questions were easy, but the pacing is a bit difficult (4 passages and 40 questions in 35 minutes on Reading). It's a little bit funny how the Princeton Review bashes the SAT in their ACT book ("ACT measures achievement, whereas as SAT claims to measure ability, which can't really be measured").

    I guess ACT isn't as easy to prep for, since it attempts to measure your cumulative academic achievement. I prepped for like 2 hours for the ACT and got a 35, but spent maybe 10 hours for the SAT and got a 1490/2290. The 35 is more impressive. As you can see, I didn't prep much (which probably accounted for my lower SAT score, since people criticize it as being easily prepped for), and I'd like to think my intelligence and achievement carried me to my good ACT score

    Definitely give the ACT a shot if you're not satisfied with your SAT score. I did, and it paid off.
  • Earth-dragonEarth-dragon Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Hmm...ok, here's my two cents:

    It COMPLETELY depends on the people. For a lot of people (most), the ACT totally clicked because it tests more common sense and if you are good, you can score high. But for me, I HATED the ACTs with a passion. I think it's just that I've been used to the SAT format so the ACT format totally threw me for a loop. ACT time management is VERY VERY hard especially on reading and science. I also personally HATE focusing on 1 subject for 40 minutes or more. It's just too much thinking. I like the SATs mixing it up, lets me breathe especially during the math sections (I ALWAYS finish early).

    So, colleges? What do THEY think? Not too much, either one seems fine. They wait them the same. My friend got a high ACT score, but REALLY low SAT scores got into MIT, so I think it just depends on the person.
  • mo24mo24 Registered User Posts: 329 Member
    They're different tests, but I don't think it makes sense to say one is consistently easier than the other. Even if that was true, the percentiles should still put you on the same equal footing. The ACT to SAT score conversion charts are based on this I believe, so in the end it makes no difference.

    However, there may be some differences in how easy it is to raise one or the other test scores through studying the relevant material. Since the ACT is supposed to be based more on high school curriculum, it's possible that it is also easier to improve your score on than SAT.

    Best thing to do is to take accurate practice tests for both the SAT and the ACT and see which one you do the best in.
  • twinkletoes23twinkletoes23 Registered User Posts: 818 Member
    No, the ACTs are not necessarily easier. I think in general, the ACT questions are MUCH EASIER than the SATs. However, the time is very "crunchy", meaning you have to be extremely whizzing through everything on the ACTs. Moreover, the curve for the ACTs is very hard... i mean, getting one wrong on reading can bump you down to a 34, while you can get 3 wrong on reading on the SATs and still get an 800.
    I think if you are more of a abstract smart-type, then go with the SATs. I find the questions more abstract (especially the math ones). If you are a person who is good at direct stuff (solving for system vs. equations versus doing word problems or weeding out information from the passage vs. inferring from the passage) then the ACT is for you.
    Take practice tests. The difference shouldn't be greater than 100 pts though... i find that mine were right on.
  • War ChantWar Chant Registered User Posts: 2,341 Senior Member
    There are less perfect scores every year on the ACT than on the SAT.
  • nicole07nicole07 Registered User Posts: 864 Member
    My score on the PSATs= 1050
    My first ACT score= 29

    huge difference... i think the acts are easier!

    the time crunch is especially difficult. i didnt finish math or science but got 30's in both areas.

    thank god for the ACTs!
  • iCantThinkOfaName2iCantThinkOfaName2 Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    The ACTs are much easier to improve upon by studying, whereas the SATs measure more of an inate combination intelligence and test-taking ability that cannot as easily be improved.
  • madamebovarymadamebovary Registered User Posts: 1,640 Senior Member
    The reason that thre are more perfect scores on the SAT is that more people take the SAT compare to ACT
  • gameguy88gameguy88 . Posts: 219 Junior Member
    Icantthink- i disagree with your statement that SATs are harder to study for...... ok tell me this how can you study for Reading portion of the ACT? tips dont help if you cant read.....science- just saying that learn to read graphs/charts doesnt help either......... english- well, this section CAN be learned BUT only the usage/mechanics portion............math- hmmm u just have to take the classes all the way up to alg.2 to do well on it or even better trig.

    NOW.....SAT........... MATH- is 99% coachable....... they use the same types of questions over and over again....like the first question is almost always pre-algebra and something like 2x+6=3x+5 then what does x+2 equal...... also there are techniques u can learn for SAT math but not for ACT math........ now Writing- ohh this is by farrr the easiest section and the section that can be easily improved upon.......all u gotta do is pick up a grammar book go through it.....or even better just go through the cb book and do all the practice problems/learn them and youre good to go........now CR.....well though this section IS hard to improve....its not because you can memorize word lists and that can give you 19/67 raw points right there.....if you can read a little.... another 15 points.....so 34/67 raw would still get u a 520ish CR....now the only way to study for CR is not by doing techniques but by READING BOOKS....and i mean hard-level books like classical and other stuff like new yorker possibly.......

    OH and also u tell me are there more ACT prep books than SAT prep books>???? NO! Which accounts for the fact that you actually have more resources to prepare for the SAT...like blue book 8 tests...online 6 tests......10 REAL SATS....white book with 8 REAL SATS.....so add em up and you get how many tests? 32 REAL TESTS to practice from. Ok now you tell me how many real ACT tests are out there??? hmmmmm 3 from that red book....... 2 online = 5 tests!

    SO the facts i stated above are enough to debase ur statement that ACT is easier to study for than SAT.
  • madamebovarymadamebovary Registered User Posts: 1,640 Senior Member
    i THINK IT COMES DOWN TO do you prefer an achievement test (act) or aptitude test (sat)
    achievement test are like AP tests
  • iCantThinkOfaName2iCantThinkOfaName2 Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Correct. "Aachievement vs. aptitude" sums it up. An acievement test like the ACT is by definition easier to study for. You just need to learn a set of skills and information and apply it ot the test. There are no tricks, etc. The SAT is a much better indicator of how smart someone is, there ability to learn, and there aptitude for test taking. The ACT does not judge these things. It judges mastery of basics learned in high school.

    Also, the reason why there are more perfect scores on the SAT is because more take it and because you have to miss less on the ACT to get a perfect score.
  • jaso9n2jaso9n2 Registered User Posts: 856 Member
    I don't know why, but something bugs me about your post, iCantthinkofaname2. The SAT doesn't judge how smart you are nor does it judge your ability to learn. That's what...gasp...high school is for. And I think a test in line with what you tend to learn in high school is much more indicative of your aptitude for learning than a test that largely depends on how well you take tests and how much you study for that particular test. A good high school student can still make a crappy score on the SAT.
  • FrameFrame Registered User Posts: 48 New Member
    ^^That's the politically correct way to think about it.

    The truth is that SAT scores correlate highly with IQ.

    In fact, to a lesser extent, so will ACT scores.

    "The ACT does not judge these things. It judges mastery of basics learned in high school."

    Very true, but you left out the key part. It judges mastery of basics learned in high school, in relation to other high schoolers. That is where you find the controversy in IQ, and in college entrance examinations in general.

    As mo24 said, both tests are normed. Colleges use internal concordance tables derived from common test taker's scores. When colleges say they look at the two tests equally, they aren't taking about the College Board's SAT v ACT table. They mean to say that they will accept both tests and weigh the scores as they see fit. So unless you are an outlier, neither test will be much easier. (Also, judging by the California System's concordance tables, the College Board's version probably isn't that far off.)
  • Chris_CChris_C - Posts: 307 Junior Member

    SAT scores do NOT, in any shape or form, correlate in any way with IQ scores. Whoever told you that should be shot. That lie was perpetrated by CB(ETS) in the 70s and 80s, but was debunked in the early 90s. The SAT was redesigned to correlate well with a student's freshman year grades in college, but that too was debunked, but not completely until the UC Board of Regents produced their report in 2001.
  • iin77iin77 Registered User Posts: 828 Member
    The ACT is much easier. I got a 24 on it in 7th grade. That's enough to get into most colleges.

    'Nuff said.
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