Comparing ACT with SAT
The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is administered by the College Board. in the United States and is developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
After SAT's introduction in 1901, the name and scoring changed several times. In March 2005, the test was renamed as "SAT Reasoning Test" with changes to the test structure and the range of possible scores. This is then the “New SAT”.
The chart below summarizes the differences between the two tests.
When is it administered?
Seven times per year
Six times per year
What is the test structure?
Ten-section exam : Three Critical Reading, three Math, three Writing, and one Experimental. The Experimental section is masked to look like a regular section.
Four-section exam : English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. An Experimental section is added to tests on certain dates only, and is clearly experimental.
What is the test content?
Math : up to 9th grade basic geometry and Algebra II.
Science : none.
Reading: sentence completions, short and long critical reading passages, reading comprehension.
Writing: an essay, and questions testing grammar, usage, and word choice.
Math : pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, geometry, and trigonometry.
Science: charts, experiments.
Reading: four passages, one each of Prose Fiction, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science.
English: stresses grammar. (Include an optional essay.)
How long is the test?
3 hours 45 minutes
3 hours 30 minutes (with the 30 minutes optional essay)
Is there a penalty for wrong answers?
Yes, for the multiple choice questions
How is the test scored?
200-800 per section, added together for a combined score. A 2400 is the highest possible combined score.
1-36 for each subject, averaged for a composite score. A 36 is the highest possible composite score.
Are all scores sent to schools?
If a student requests a score report be sent to specific colleges, the report will include the scores the student received on every SAT taken. Yes.
No . There is a "Score Choice" option. Students can choose which schools will receive their scores AND which scores the schools will see.
Are there other uses for the exams?
Scholarship purposes. Certain statewide testing programs.
Need more information?
Educational Testing Service (ETS)
The College Board
Although there is no official conversion chart, several colleges have issued their own conversion chart. The following table is based on the University of California's conversion chart.
SAT (Prior to Writing Test Addition)
SAT (With Writing Test Addition)
ACT Composite Score
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