SAT & ACT Information
Most institutions of higher education require you to take a standardized test, such as the SAT or ACT.
Ever wonder how these tests are different? Take a look at the chart below for a quick comparison.
|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|