Various websites point out that the SAT gives more time per question, thus students may feel less rushed on it than on the ACT. But a presentation given at my kid's high school last week by the head of guidance and a Kaplan rep said that SAT questions are longer than ACT questions (i.e., reading passages are longer). The implication was that having to read longer questions balances out the advantage of having fewer questions and that, in the end, both have about equal time pressure.

It's not entirely clear whether they were comparing new SAT to the old one or to the ACT. Is there anyone who has taken the new SAT and the ACT and can speak from experience on this topic?

asked 18 Apr '16, 11:02

Chris_PrepScholar's gravatar image

Chris_PrepSc...
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edited 20 Apr '16, 14:56

Laura_PrepScholar's gravatar image

Laura_PrepSc...
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Despite the format changes on the new SAT, the ACT still has more time pressure. On the SAT Reading section, you'll have 65 minutes to answer 52 questions, while on the ACT Reading section you have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions. On the SAT Writing section, you'll have 35 minutes to answer 44 questions, while on the ACT English section you'll have 45 minutes to answer 75 questions. And on SAT Math, you'll have a total of 80 minutes to answer 58 questions (25 minutes for 20 questions on the no calculator section and 55 minutes for 38 questions on the calculator section), while for ACT Math you'll have 60 minutes to answer 60 questions.

The claim that reading passages on the SAT are longer simply does not appear to be true - I did a quick survey of the new practice tests that the College Board has released, compared them to practice ACT tests, and found that the Reading passages, at least, are roughly the same wordcount for the SAT and ACT (the ACT passages were technically longer, but that difference is no doubt statistically insignificant). Because the passages are roughly the same length, this means that the number of questions and time given becomes even more important - and the SAT still gives more time per question.

Of course, whether or not a particular student finds one test harder than the other may depend on the particular test and the reading material present - for instance, the SAT now always includes "U.S. founding documents and texts from the Great Global Conversation," which some students may have a harder time getting through and comprehending. But in terms of reading passage length, time given, and number of questions, SAT Reading undoubtedly has lower time pressure than ACT Reading; similarly, SAT Writing and SAT Math allow students more time per question than do ACT English and ACT Math.

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answered 20 Apr '16, 14:55

Laura_PrepScholar's gravatar image

Laura_PrepSc...
536626470

edited 14 Jun '16, 10:27

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