Difference between ACT and SAT Exams

The ACT is an achievement test measuring what a student has learned in school.

The SAT is an aptitude test measuring testing reasoning and verbal abilities.

The ACT has 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Sciences and an optional writing test. You take the writing test-only if required by the college(s) you’re applying to.

The SAT has 3 components: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required writing test.

The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.

The SAT has a correction for guessing. They take off for wrong answers.


SAT Length  3 hours 45 minutes

ACT  Length 3 hours 25 minutes (includes optional 30‐minute Writing Test)

SAT  10 Sections: 3 Critical Reading, 3 Math, 3 Writing (include Essay), 1 Experimental (not scored)

ACT  4 Sections (plus optional Writing Test): English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing

SAT  Math - Arithmetic , Geometry, Algebra, and Algebra II

ACT Math - Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry

SAT Essay Required

ACT Essay Optional (final section)

SAT Score - Composition 1/3 Math, 1/3 Reading, 1/3 Writing

ACT Score - ¼ English, ¼ Math, ¼ Reading, ¼ Science

SAT Scoring Aggregate score 600‐2400 based on total of 3 scores 200‐800 (Reading, Math, Writing) Score of 0‐12 for Essay

ACT Scoring Composite score 1‐36 based on average of 4 sections (English, Math, Reading, Science) Score 0‐12 for Optional Essay


Additional Information     www.collegeboard.com www.actstudent.org

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