With a few exceptions, most colleges require either an SAT or ACT, and most also require two SAT subject tests. The ACT was traditionally administered in the Midwest, but it is now common on the East Coast as well. Colleges accept either test, without exception.
The ACT is gaining popularity on the East Coast. Unlike the SAT, which is designed to measure reasoning and critical thinking skills, the ACT is designed to measure academic achievement in English, math, reading, and science. The ACT has an optional writing component for which students must register.
The SAT includes three sections: Verbal, Math and Writing. Each section is scored from 200–800 points. The Writing component has a student written essay that is scored from 1–6 points. The SAT is offered seven times per academic year.
SAT Subject Tests are hour-long exams and are offered in Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and a variety of languages. SAT Subject Tests are administered six times per academic year.