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SAT vs. ACT

ACT vs SAT: Key differences between the ACT and SAT

SAT

vs.

ACT

reasoning test

Type of Test

content-based test

Critical Reading: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Math: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Writing: 1, 25-min essay, 1, 25-min section, and 1, 10-min section

Test Format

English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 30-min essay (optional)

reading, vocabulary, grammar & usage, writing, and math

Content Covered

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

tricky, questions can be phrased in ways that make them difficult to decipher

Test Style

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

Math, Critical Reading, and Writing scores will each range between a 200-800; total SAT score ranges between 600-2400

Scoring

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

yes – you lose ¼ of a point for incorrect answers (except on the grid-in math questions)

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, data analysis, algebra I and II, functions, geometry; formulas are provided in the test booklet

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

www.collegeboard.com

More Information

www.act.org

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