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ACT vs. SAT

 What is the difference between the SAT and ACT? They are both standardized tests and they both factor into the college admissions process. To learn about the differences between the two tests and how they compare, take a look at the chart below. 

 

 


SAT


ACT

When is it administered?

Seven times per year

Six times per year

What is the test structure?

3 tests

Optional essay

4 tests

Optional writing test

What is the test content?

Reading Test
65 minutes
52 questions

Writing and Language Test
35 minutes
44 questions

Math Test
80 minutes
58 questions

Reading Test
35 minutes
40 questions

English Test
45 minutes
75 questions

Math Test
60 minutes
60 questions

Science Test
35 minutes
40 questions

Is there a penalty for wrong answers?

No

No

How is the test scored?

200-800 per section, added together for a combined score. Composite 400–1600 (SAT Essay: reported in 3 dimensions, each 2–8)

1-36 for each subject, averaged for a composite score (writing domain scores: 2–12). A 36 is the highest possible composite score.

Test fees waived for eligible students?

Yes 

Yes

Are there other uses for the exams?

Scholarship purposes.

Scholarship purposes. Certain statewide testing programs.

Best time to register?

About 4 weeks before test day. You pay a late fee for registering later.

About 5 weeks before test day. You pay a late fee for registering later.

Need more information?

The College Board
Website

ACT, Inc.:
(319) 337-1000 Website