ACT and SAT are both entry exams for American university application and scholarship; however, the two exams have different focuses.


Difficulties of the exams:

Usually people are under the impression that ACT focuses on the knowledge students gain during high school; thus, high school students are better off taking ACT, especially if English is not your first language. On the other hand, SAT focuses on students logic and comprehension of the English language, and emphasize on testing students’ critical thinking skills. Both exams are challenging for all students.


Subjects tested:

ACT includes tests on English Grammar, Reading, Math, Writing, and Science, whereas SAT now includes English, Grammar, Writing and Math. The grammar section is an advantage which helps students to attain more marks, for it tests mainly on the common mistakes that students make. After 2015, there is now a new version update by the College Board, which makes the SAT more similar to the ACT and makes it significantly less challenging. The very prominent feature that is updated is that for any absent or wrong answer, the SAT will no longer deduct points. The chances of students excelling the SAT exam is now essentially higher.


Contents of the exams: 

SAT math now has taken out mathematics concepts such as matrix, statistics and probability, skewing the focus of the exam to that of the ACT math tests, which has concepts equivalent to grades 8 and 9 math covered in the Chinese curriculum and throughout grades 10-12 in Canada. 


How Long are the Exams:

Since both exams are considered standardized tests for academic excellence, they are going to be more challenging considering the amount of effort and focus put into the exams. The new SAT is not 3 hours excluding the optional essay. With the essay portion, the exam will be 3 hours and 50 minutes, including Math, Reading, Grammar and Writing. For the ACT, with the five sections, it is 3 hours and 35 minutes. Both exams ask students to finish one section at a time, which means that students would not be able to go back to previous sections to go on to the next section before they are told to do so.



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