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.
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
|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 section||Total Questions – 154|
Reading Test – 52
|Total Questions – 215|
English Test – 75
|Scoring||The 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.|
|Difficulty||Trickier Questions, More time per question, Math formulas provided||Direct Questions, Less time per question, Math formulas not provided|
Still can’t decide which test to take?
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