what exactly is the ACT and SAT test?

what exactly is the ACT and SAT test?
i know that ACT and SAT are for colleges and stuff.
but like someone told me ACT is for the in-state colleges and SAT is for out of state colleges.
so for example if i want to go in to a college in colorado and i live in colorado then, do i have to take ACT or SAT or both?
and if i i live in colorado and trying to get in to a college in boston, do i have to take ACT or SAT or both?

In brief, the SAT and ACT are two different tests used by schools to help determine admissions. In-state and out-of-state has no bearing on test acceptance – it all comes down to individual school preferences.

You may have read that the SAT is strongly preferred, if not required outright, by top-tier schools such as Harvard, Yale or Stanford. This is no longer the case. The ACT is now as widely accepted as the SAT by virtually all schools in the US, and neither test will help or hurt your chances of getting into the elite colleges. The ACT is more widely taken than the SAT in the Midwestern and southern US, and admissions committees have come to understand that.

The SAT and ACT are tailored for different types of students. So the big question is: SAT vs. ACT – which test do you think you’ll do better on?

The SAT exam consists of three sections: math, reading comprehension, and writing. Each section is worth 800 points (your total score will be out of 2400) and has multiple types of questions. The SAT is known as a test-taker’s test because it concentrates as much on your ability to not be fooled by tricky multiple-choice questions as it does on what you’ve learned in the classroom, so if you’re good at cramming for exams, then the SAT may be your standardized test of choice.

The ACT exam has four sections: English, math, reading comprehension, and science. There is also an optional essay (unlike the SAT’s essay, which is mandatory). Each section on the ACT is worth up to 36 points, and your score is averaged from all the sections, not broken down like the SAT’s. Points are NOT taken off for wrong answers.

That’s not to say one test is easier than the other. However, the ACT lets you display more classroom knowledge, so if you’re a strong student but tend to succumb to the pressure of big tests, then perhaps the ACT is for you.

If you know the schools you’ll be applying to, contact their admissions offices to see if they prefer one test over the other. Each school has different requirements, so if you know they only accept the ACT, you won’t need to take the SAT. If they accept both, however, it might be a good idea to take both tests – you never know which you’ll do better on until you take them!