SAT vs AP: Which of the Two Exams Is Harder? Which One to Choose?

Today, every college wants to offer their seats to well-rounded and specialist students.

This creates stress among high school children. As scholars enter high school, they start getting involved in extracurricular activities or some online courses.

It becomes necessary for them to stand out during the selection process of colleges for their further studies.

At present, AP exams and SAT have gained popularity among students. Both these options are pretty good, but it is always a good idea to have a proper understanding of them before applying for exams.

Read on to find out which of these two should you choose according to your career preference.

An Overview: SAT VS AP

AP stands for Advanced Placement Exams.

This test is the culmination of different advanced placement courses taken. AP test requires students to exhibit their college-level analytical skills.

This makes it somewhat difficult for many students.

SAT is an integrated system of exams that measures the same skills and knowledge as taught in the high school curriculum. This is the main difference between AP and SAT.

Exam Structure and Pattern

A lot of competitive colleges include SAT scores as their selection criteria, so they prefer students who have passed this exam.

On the other hand, AP tests give you an edge over others by providing specializations and college credentials.

Now coming to the exam pattern, the SAT is a three-hour-long multiple-choice exam.

It can extend to 3 hours 50 minutes if you opt for SAT Essays as well. In between the exams, you get a 10-minute break for refreshment.

AP tests follow a different outlook towards the exam. The duration of the test lies between 2 to 3 hours.

It depends on the advanced placement courses availed by students. The AP exams are conducted in two distinct sets. One with multiple-choice questions and the other one is a free-response question answer.

Courses Covered

AP tests are designed to assess the content and skills specifically taught in an advanced placement course in which a student gets enrolled.

It is an end-of-year paper and pencil exams. It generally measures subject specialization capability.

Often, they also ask to provide some work or portfolio as tests. These exams are a bit more challenging than the SAT.

SAT covers high school curriculum that mainly consists:

  • Math
  • Evidence-based reading and writing.
  • Essay (Optional)

Grading System

In the case of the SAT, the grading system is divided into two sections. Each part contains the maximum marks of 800. The student can receive marks ranging from 200-800 in every section and can score a maximum of 1600.

AP tests give grades to students based on a weighted scale. It ranges from five to one point. Five stands for extremely well qualified whereas, those who score one are not recommended to colleges.

Fees Structure

SAT – Basic fees are $52 (without essay option) and $68 (With essay option), but it varies based on the applicant’s country.
AP – For each exam, AP fees are charged. It ranges from $95 to $ 143.

Final Verdict

Both of these exams demonstrate that you have challenged yourself academically. You should go for either one option or even both, keeping in mind your career preferences and the amount of time you can prepare.

Read: Is AP Capstone Worth It?

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