People telling you how the ACT is very hard definitely stresses you. Most students in Egypt are used to the SAT exam, and maybe that’s why students feel like it’s the easier option, but we’re here to tell you that the ACT exam and the SAT exam aren’t that different.
The ACT exam may even be more practical. SAT and ACT are very similar when it comes to the curriculum and the content used in the exam, however, there are other aspects that are different when it comes to testing and the form of questions. Everyone telling you that the ACT is way harder than the SAT?
Well, we can confidently tell you that the ACT test is actually easier and if you’ve taken both tests, you can agree with this. You might be thinking that this seems too good to be true, but it is true. Let’s break down both tests first.
Grammar Related Sections:
Let’s start with the grammar-related sections. The English section in the ACT includes 75 questions in 35 minutes, which gives you 36 seconds per question, but most questions are very straightforward, including questions about punctuation, grammar, sentence placement, and questions about your understanding of the passage.
The writing section in the SAT is quite identical to the English section in the ACT, the main difference is that the writing section in the SAT consists of 44 questions that should be answered in 35 minutes, which gives you 48 seconds to answer each question.
Another main difference is that the writing section in the SAT includes several graphs that relate to the passages in some way.
The graphs sometimes contain numbers, but they do not require a calculator. Besides these two differences, both sections are very similar.
Moving on to the reading sections in both exams. The reading section in the ACT is made up of 40 questions divided into 4 passages that should be answered in 35 minutes, which gives you around 52 seconds per question.
The four passages are made up of different types and they’re usually in the same sequence: literary narrative, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.
Questions in the reading section are very direct and straight to the point, unlike the questions in the SAT reading section, which require evidence and deep analysis.
The SAT reading section is made up of 52 questions divided into 5 passages that should be answered in 65 minutes, which gives you around a minute and 25 seconds per question. The 5 passages are made up of different types including US literature, US literature, social studies, history, and science.
Moving on to the math sections in both exams. In the ACT exam, there is only one section for math and you get to use a calculator throughout the whole section, while in the SAT exam you have two math sections, one with a calculator and one without.
The ACT math section includes 60 multiple choice questions that should be answered in 60 minutes, which gives you a minute per question. In the SAT math with calculator section, you have 30 multiple choice questions and 8 long answer questions, which you are expected to answer in 55 minutes.
In the SAT no calculator math sections, you have 15 multiple choice questions and 5 long answer questions that are expected to be answered in 25 questions.
The SAT math sections require critical thinking, while the ACT requires a good memory. You can clearly see the difference in timing, but if you think of it, the SAT math sections have more complex questions that test critical thinking, which takes time.
On the other hand, the ACT math section requires good memory of calculations and previous knowledge, which takes less time.
After analyzing the three sections that are common in the SAT and the ACT, you may think that the ACT is harder, given that there are more questions in less time. Before believing this statement, you must put into consideration the different exam types and the environment around you.
In the SAT exam, you spend extra time coloring in your bubble sheet, while in the ACT you simply click on your choice. In the SAT, you’re usually testing in a classroom and on a desk where you can see other students, which may distract you.
In the ACT exam, you are secluded and you can only see your screen, which limits any distractions. If you really focus on these differences and really compare, you will realize that the ACT isn’t as complicated as people make it seem.