SAT/ACT Comparison

Standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are used in the college admissions process along with other factors such as high school grades, class rank, community service, recommendations and extracurricular activities.

SAT

The SAT exam is an admissions test used to assess a potential student's academic strengths and readiness for college. The intent of the SAT is to measure a student's capabilities in the core areas of reading, writing and mathematics.  SAT Test Scores range from 200 to 800 for each of the sections, for a total potential score of 1600. 

ACT

The ACT assesses a student's college readiness in the subject areas of English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The ACT Test is meant to measure a high school student’s readiness for college.  The ACT Test consists of multiple choice questions in the areas of: English, mathematics, reading, and science. ACT Test Scores range from 1 to 36 for each of the sections.

 

SAT

ACT

Length of Exam

3 hours

+ 50 minutes (optional essay)

2 hours & 55 minutes

+ 40 minutes (optional essay)

Structure of Exam

Reading (70 min)

Writing and Language Test (35 min)

Math Test (80 minutes)

 

 

English (45 min)

Math (60 min)

Reading (35 min)

Science (35 min)

Essay (30 min; optional)

Number of Questions

154

215

Scoring

Composite 400–1600

A score between 200 and 800

Composite 1–36 

A score of 1 to 36 for each of the 4 sections of the test  

Math Content

Arithmetic

Algebra I and II

Geometry

Data, Statistics, and Probability

Arithmetic

Algebra I and II

Geometry

Trigonometry

Data, Statistics, and Probability

Reading Content

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

Sentence Structure

Writing/English

Content

Logical Expression of Ideas

Words in Context

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Grammar and Usage

Punctuation

Sentence Structure

Organization and Style

Science Content

There is no science section

Interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem solving

Essay

Optional

Is factored into the student’s overall score

Optional

Not factored into the student’s overall score