A new college entrance exam is coming to Illinois. The test known as the SAT is replacing the ACT.
The Illinois State Board of Education announced Thursday it will begin negotiating a contract with the College Board, which administers the SAT. The announcement comes after a protest filed by ACT was denied.
The state's contract with ACT expired last year.
College Board spokesman Zach Goldberg says the SAT focuses "on the few things that evidence shows matter most for college and career readiness." He says "students are already learning in class" material tested by the SAT.
Goldberg says the College Board can be ready to offer the SAT to Illinois high school students "as early as this spring."
So what is the biggest difference between the tests? The Princeton Review outlined seven things to know:
1. The SAT questions are not as straightforward as the ACT
"On the SAT, you may need to spend time figuring out what you're being asked before you can start solving the problem," the Princeton Review writes.
2. The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary
"If you're an ardent wordsmith, you'll love the SAT. If words aren't your thing, you may do better on the ACT," according to the Princeton Review.
3. The SAT does not have a science section
"The ACT science section is meant to test your reading and reasoning skills based upon a set of data or conflicting viewpoints," the publication says. "But if you're a true science-phobe, the SAT might be a better fit."
4. Both tests now have the same advanced math concepts.
"You can expect questions in arithmetic, algebra I & II, geometry and trigonometry," it writes.
5. Both essays are optional.
"You have 50 minutes to complete the essay on the SAT and 40 minutes to complete it on the ACT," according to the Princeton Review.
6. Although both essays are optional, their focus is different.
"The SAT essay is more comprehension focused while the ACT wants to see how well you can evaluate and take a position on complex issues," the Princeton Review writes.
7. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36 and the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.
"Three points on the SAT isn’t a big deal, but three points on the ACT could be the difference between your target school and your dream school," according to the Princeton Review.