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The SATs and ACTs are standardized tests that many colleges require applicants to take so the Admissions Department can consider their test scores. Some states dictate which college admissions exams students must take. In other regions, the school itself may choose which test is required. Some universities let prospective students decide which test they want to take, and others accept applications without test scores.

If you need to choose between the SAT and ACT, learn more below about when you can take each test, how they're similar and how they differ.

When to Take the SATs and ACTs

The College Board administers the SAT seven times each year. While you can take the SAT for the first time during your freshman year, most students wait until the spring of their junior year. If necessary, you can attempt the SAT again during the fall term of your senior year. This strategy is ideal because it allows you to complete three years of high school classes before taking the exam, which may contain content you will learn after your freshman year.

Like the SAT, you can take the ACT in both your junior and senior year. You should only take the test a second time if you want to improve your score since retaking it means reinvesting the money and time to study.

Comparing the SATs and ACTs

Both tests gauge your preparedness for college by testing your understanding of several subjects.

While both have a math section during which you can use a calculator, the SAT also contains a separate, shorter math section you must complete without a calculator. Compared to the ACT's science section, the SAT has no dedicated science category, but it tests your knowledge of scientific concepts in other parts.

The ACT has distinct sections for English, reading and writing — though the writing portion is optional. In comparison, the SAT has a reading portion and a writing and language section. It also has an optional essay.

The entire SAT takes three hours and 50 minutes. Skipping the essay reduces that time to three hours. Without taking the optional writing portion, the ACT lasts for two hours and 55 minutes. If you complete the writing section, the exam will take three hours and 35 minutes. While the SAT is longer, the extra time investment is valuable because you receive more time to complete each section.

Apply to Wingate University With or Without Test Scores

Wingate University is a test-score-optional institution. If you have taken or will take a college admissions exam, we welcome you to send in your score. If not, you can submit your application without including college preparedness scores.

We want our prospective students to embrace their future and pursue their vision at Wingate. That desire led us to develop a single accessible admissions process. When you apply to Wingate, you don't need to write an essay or pay an application fee. Plus, we'll notify you of our decision within two weeks and you will receive your scholarship award. We offer renewable scholarships that range from $15,000 to $25,000.

Are you interested in applying to Wingate but haven't taken the SAT or ACT? You can still apply online! Please browse our site to learn more about Wingate and fill out your application when you're ready!