ACT vs. SAT

Use this chart to compare the SAT and ACT tests and determine which type of test best fits your student. You might want to consider taking both tests to determine which test yields the higher score.  Please note that although the writing portion of the ACT test is optional (for an additional fee), most colleges request that you take the writing portion of the test when taking the ACT.

SAT

vs.

ACT

reasoning test

Type of Test

content-based test

Critical Reading: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Math: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Writing: 1, 25-min essay, 1, 25-min section, and 1, 10-min section

Test Format

English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 30-min essay (optional)

reading, vocabulary, grammar & usage, writing, and math

Content Covered

grammar & usage, math, reading, science reasoning, and writing (optional)

tricky, questions can be phrased in ways that make them difficult to decipher

Test Style

straightforward, questions may be long but are usually less difficult to decipher

Math, Critical Reading, and Writing scores will each range between a 200-800; total SAT score ranges between 600-2400

Scoring

English, Math, Reading, and Science scores will each range between 1-36.  Composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections; ranges between 1-36

yes – you lose ¼ of a point for incorrect answers (except on the grid-in math questions)

Penalty for Wrong Answers?

no – you do not lose points for incorrect answers

yes – you can choose which set(s) of SAT scores to submit to colleges

Score Choice?

yes – you can choose which set(s) of ACT scores to submit to colleges

arithmetic, data analysis, algebra I and II, functions, geometry; formulas are provided in the test booklet

Math Levels

arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry; no formulas are provided

every four-year

college in the US accepts SAT scores

Who accepts which test?

 every four-year college in the US accepts ACT scores

seven times per year: January, March or April, May, June, October, November, December

Offered when?

six times per year: February, April, June, September, October, December

typically about four weeks before the test date

Registration deadline?

typically about five to six weeks before the test date

www.collegeboard.com

More Information

www.act.org