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Digital SAT vs. the ACT: Which Test Should You Take?


Are you ready to conquer the SAT or ACT? With a plethora of changes and options, it can be daunting to choose the test that suits you best. In this blog post, we'll demystify the differences between the digital SAT and the ACT, empowering you to make an informed decision about your test choice. Remember, your journey starts with Core Edge Prep's ACT/SAT diagnostic, where you can take control and choose the test that's best for YOU!

Time: One of the most significant differences between the SAT and ACT is the time commitment. The SAT has a shorter testing duration, clocking in at two hours and 14 minutes of active testing time. On the other hand, the ACT requires nearly an hour more, with two hours and 55 minutes of active testing. The SAT includes reading and writing sections, while the ACT adds science and English sections. Consider your preferences and test stamina when choosing between the two.

Format: The digital SAT is offered exclusively on a tablet or computer, while the ACT is primarily given in paper format, although digital options are available in some locations. The digital SAT is adaptive, meaning your performance on the first module of each section determines the difficulty of subsequent modules. In contrast, the ACT follows a linear format, one section at a time. Consider your comfort level with technology and your testing preferences when deciding between the two formats.

Vibe and Content: The reading and science sections of the ACT include science passages, while the SAT incorporates command of evidence quantitative questions that require interpreting graphs and charts. The SAT tends to test nuance, requiring students to choose the best answer, while the ACT is more straightforward, with clear answer choices. Additionally, the SAT reading passages are shorter but more complex, while the ACT passages are longer but generally easier to comprehend. Consider your strengths and weaknesses in reading comprehension and your comfort level with nuanced questions when selecting a test.

The ACT covers a wider range of topics in the math section, while the SAT focuses more on algebra. The SAT also rewards clever thinking and allows using Desmos, a graphing calculator, during the test. Consider your math skills and comfort with different question types when deciding between the two tests.


High Scores vs. Low Scores: Some students find the ACT easier to prepare for if they score 1000 or lower on the SAT, while others prefer the SAT if they excel in abstract thinking and creative problem-solving. Consider your target score and preparation preferences when choosing between the two tests.

The Ideal Test For You: The key to finding your ideal test is to take a practice SAT and ACT and compare your scores. Consider factors such as test format, content, and most importantly, your personal testing preferences and strengths. Your dedication and determination to improve will significantly impact your test performance. Choose the test that aligns with your unique abilities and preferences, and don't forget to come to Core Edge Prep and Take our ACT/SAT diagnostic to choose which test is best for YOU!


I trust that this breakdown has provided you with the clarity you need to make a decision between the digital SAT and the ACT. Remember, both tests are designed to be fair and comprehensive, giving you the opportunity to showcase your skills. Good luck with your test preparation journey!

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