There are two undergraduate admissions exam formats accepted by US universities:
Students take either the ACT or SAT test as part of the college application process. Almost every student that attends a college has taken the ACT or SAT. What exactly are these tests? Which one should you take? We strongly encourage students to take both tests at least once. This will give you an idea of which test showcases your abilities, and you can concentrate on increasing the score of your "best" test.
The ACT contains four sub-tests in English, Math, Reading, and Science. A separate ACT Writing Test is also available. Each sub-test has a high score of 36. These sub-test scores are averaged together for a Composite Score. Some colleges look at the sub-tests individually, others consider the entire Composite Score. To register for the ACT, follow this link: ACT Registration
The SAT assesses your math and English skills. It also contains a writing portion. Each section has a maximum of 800 points, with a high score of 1600 for the math and verbal sections. Many college websites will discuss their "freshman profile" and list the SAT scores out of 1600. Please check with your prospective college or university admissions office to see what test are required for admission. To register for the SAT, follow this link: SAT Registration
There are online resources comparing the two tests side by side, like this table from the Princeton Review.
Take the time to thoroughly prepare for any admissions exam you have to take. They are the main gatekeepers of admissions decisions.
If you don’t hit the range a university is looking for, it is unlikely the rest of your application will be considered. American students applying to university will have been familiar with these tests for several years before they take them.
However, students that study in the UK are capable of performing excellently and achieving the highest possible scores.
You should sit several full, timed practice tests including the writing portions, and plan a revision programme focussing on areas you need to improve.
There are many free resources to help you get a feel for the test format and revise appropriately:
If you need additional assistance, you can attend the SAT/ACT preparation activity and speak to the Futures department.