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Issue: 3

Which Test Should I Take, SAT or ACT?

This is a question that is asked by almost every high school student at some point in their academic career, whether they are a student athlete or not. When digging deep into the question and trying to give the person advice, I always stress that there is no right answer to the question.

There is no right answer because that answer depends on the strengths of each individual student. At NLI, we always say our prospects path the recruitment athletically is never the same, well the same theory applies with our advice on the SAT vs ACT.

The important thing to know is the differences between the two, and the similarities between them as well.


  • Both tests are widely accepted tools for college admission
  • Both tests are used by colleges to determine merit based, academic scholarships
  • Both tests focus on Reading, Math, and have optional essay portions
  • Both tests last around 3 hours without the essay, and 4 hours with the essay


  • SAT is scored on a 400- 1600 scale
  • ACT is scored on a 1-36 scale
  • ACT includes a science portion on the test, while SAT has a second English section
  • ACT allows a calculator on all math sections, while SAT has a math section where calculators are not allowed.

Our best answer, is to always recommend our prospects take practice tests for both tests, under the same conditions and time restraints as the real thing, and use the results and comfortability with the formats to decide if they should pursue one test over the other.




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