• ACT vs SAT: Key Differences between the ACT and SAT

    (from www.studypoint.com)

    ACT vs SAT: which test is a better fit for you? Consider the key differences between the ACT and SAT. Some students find that the ACT caters to their strengths more so than the SAT, and vice versa.  Need a quick side-by-side comparison of the tests?  





    content-based test

    Type of Test

    content-based test

    Reading: 1, 65-min section; Math: 1, 25-min section (no calculator) & 1, 55-min section (w/ calculator); Writing & Language: 1, 35-min section; Essay: 1, 50-min section (optional)

    Test Format

    English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 40-min essay (optional)

    reading, relevant words in context, math, grammar & usage, analytical writing (optional)

    Content Covered

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

    questions are evidence and context-based in an effort to focus on real-world situations and multi-step problem-solving

    Test Style

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

    Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing are each scored on a scale of 200-800. Composite SAT score is the sum of the two section scores and ranged from 400-1600.


    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

    no – you do not lose points for incorrect answers

    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

    questions increase in difficulty level as you move through that question type in a section (except reading passage questions, which progress chronologically through the passage)

    Difficulty Levels

    difficulty level of the questions is random

    arithmetic, problem-solving & data analysis, heart of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; formulas provided.

    Math Levels

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

    with private schools and schools on the east and west coasts; however, every four-year college in the US accepts SAT scores

    Tends to be more popular?

    with public schools and schools in the Midwest and south; however, 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 (note that some states offer the ACT as part of their state testing requirements; these tests are not administered on the national test dates)

    typically about four weeks before the test date

    Registration deadline?

    typically about five to six weeks before the test date


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