Choosing the right test

Most universities accept both SAT scores and ACT scores — there is absolutely no added advantage in taking one test over the other. So, here’s our best advice: Take the test you tend to score better in. Alternatively, you can take both tests and submit the higher score! 

Should you take both the SAT and the ACT? Well, focusing on one standardized test would be more efficient, but if you have extra time to prepare, go for it! Just don’t feel pressured to do so, because there’s absolutely no need to register and attempt both tests.

What is the difference?

Quite a bit. The best way to learn the difference is simply by taking a full-length practice test for each test. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the timing and pacing for each section. 

And that’s where we, at Prep Zone Academy, step in. Before you decide to jump the gun and register for the SAT and the ACT, take our free diagnostic tests!

Here’s an overview of the differences in their test structure.

Test Duration (Excluding breaks)3 hrs – Without Essay
3 hrs 50 mins – With Essay
2 hrs 55 mins – Without Essay
3 hrs 35 mins – With Essay
  1. Reading Test
  2. Writing & Language Test
  3. Math Test (No Calculator)
  4. Math Test (Calculator)
  5. Essay (Optional)
  1. English
  2. Math
  3. Reading
  4. Science
  5. Writing (Optional)
Time per section (minutes)/question (seconds)Reading Test – 65mins/75s
Writing & Language Test – 35mins/47s
Math Test (No Calculator) – 25mins/75s
Math Test (Calculator) – 55mins/86s
Essay (Optional) – 50mins
English Test – 45mins/36s
Math Test (Calculator) – 60mins/60s
Reading Test – 35mins/52s
Science Test – 35mins/52s
Writing (Optional) – 40mins
Questions per sectionTotal Questions – 154

Reading Test – 52
Writing & Language Test – 44
Math Test (No Calculator) – 20
Math Test (Calculator) – 38
Essay (Optional) – 1 Essay

Total Questions – 215

English Test – 75
Math Test – 60
Reading Test – 40
Science Test – 40
Essay (Optional) – 1 Essay

ScoringThe Reading + Writing and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score (out of 1600).

The optional Essay does not count toward your final score.

Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score (out of 36) is the average of your four section scores.


DifficultyTrickier Questions, More time per question, Math formulas providedDirect Questions, Less time per question, Math formulas not provided

Still can’t decide which test to take?

We can help! Call us at +65 6812 9999 for a free consultation, or fill out the following form. Our course consultants will reach out to you within 24 hours.


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