ACT Versus SAT

Kassie Kometani, Editor

Some of the most important tests a high school student will take in their life are their college entrance exams. The most noted tests include the SAT and ACT exams. Students from Kohala High School recently had a chance to take both exams in the month of March. During our school-wide testing day on Tuesday March 4th the juniors took the ACT exam. That Saturday, students who signed up took the SAT exam.

After taking both tests within close proximity to each other, I came to the conclusion that the SAT was a more difficult exam than the ACT. For one, the SAT penalizes you for guessing by taking off one-fourth of a point per wrong answer. The ACT does not penalize you for wrong answers and it even encourages you to take educated guesses on questions you are unsure of. I also believe that the content on the ACT was more manageable than that of the SAT. Although the ACT includes a difficult science section, the SAT includes questions and passages that require a higher level of comprehension. I was able to understand questions on the ACT better than the SAT. A high level of vocabulary is also required for taking the SAT exam and it is usually a section students struggle with the most. The SAT also has a student-generated response section for Mathematics. Students must complete computations to come up with their own answers and are not given multiple choices. That is tough because one small mistake means your whole answer could be off and you would have no way of knowing. Another differing aspect of the exams is that the SAT is broken down into several 25 minute sections while the ACT has four sections with a time limit of around 40 minutes. Some students like the broken down sections of the ACT but for me, it is easier to answer all of the questions within a longer set time. You also have a lesser sense of urgency answering question on the ACT because you have more time.

There is no question that to do well on either exam, you have to study in advance. Luckily for students who are unhappy with their scores, opportunities to take the tests again are plentiful in the coming months.