7 differences between the SAT and ACT


The similarities between SAT and ACT can lead to confusion about which way you should go.

  • Both SAT and ACT are nationally accepted standardized tests for admission to educational institutions in the U.S.A.
  • All U.S. universities and colleges accept both SAT and ACT, so there is no question of one examination having more value than the other.

Read Also: 8 Interesting Facts About ACT

  • The total times are:
    • SAT -3 hours without essay and 3 hours 50 minutes with essay
    • ACT- 2 hours 55 minutes without writing and 3 hours 35 minutes with writing
  • The order of sessions. This can be important as doing the subject you find more difficult early on may be better. The order of subjects is:
    • SAT - Reading, writing, and language, math (no calculator), math (calculator), and essay (optional)
    • ACT – English, math, reading, science, writing (optional)
  • The number of questions:
    • SAT - Reading: 52 questions, writing and language: 44 questions, math (no calculator): 20 questions, math (calculator): 38 questions, essay (optional): 1 essay
    • ACT -English: 75 questions, math: 60 questions, reading: 40 questions, science: 40 questions, writing (optional): 1 essay
  • The time per section. Evaluate the time available in conjunction with the number of questions to be answered:
    • SAT - Reading: 65 mins, writing, and language: 35 mins, math (no calculator): 25 mins, math (calculator): 55 mins, essay (optional): 50 mins
    • ACT - English: 45 mins, math: 60 mins, reading: 35 mins, science: 35 mins, writing (optional): 40 mins
  • Scoring systems:
    • SAT –The evidence-based reading and writing (EBRW) and math sections have a scale of 200 to 800 each so the total score range is 400 to 800. The optional essay, which does not count towards your final score, uses three scales of 1 to 8.
    • ACT –Each of the four sections has a scale of 1 to 36, and your total score is the average of the four sections’ scores. The optional writing section, which does not count towards your final score, has a scale of 2 to 12.

      Read Also: How Do Universities Use SAT Scores?

  • Science:
    • SAT – There is no specific science section
    • ACT –There is one section that is only on science.
  • Math:
    • SAT – There are two math sections, and in one of them, no calculator may be used.
    • ACT- Calculators may be used for all math questions

For more detailed information on the differences and similarities between SAT and ACT, talk to an expert on these examination systems such as a tutor at a reputed organization offering online live interactive sessions for SAT known for its students’ success.

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