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ACT vs SAT

The Differences between the Two Tests

What are the differences between the ACT and the SAT?

Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test they would fare better in.

 

Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the ACT and SAT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.

 

Here are some key differences between the ACT and SAT:

 ACTSAT
ScoringComposite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)Composite score of 400 - 1600
FormatComputerizedPaper and Pencil
DatesOffered seven times a year:
February
April
June
July
September
October
December
Offered four times a year:
March
May
October
December
Math FormulasTo be memorizedProvided
Calculator PolicyAllowed in Math sectionAllowed in one Math sub-section
Science SectionYesNo

Should I take the ACT or the SAT?

The types of questions in each section of the ACT and the SAT vary. Ultimately, the best way to know which test is a better fit for you is to attempt both. Click here to schedule a free ACT and/or SAT Diagnostic Test.

 

The key differences in concepts tested on the ACT and the SAT are here:

 ACTSAT
ReadingQuestions are not in chronological order — being able to remember the location of exact details in passages gives you an advantage. You are given approx. 8 minutes per passage.Questions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.
WritingMore focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.More focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
MathWider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
Focus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.
ScienceComfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.No Science Section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.
EssayAnalyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.
Read a passage and explain how the author uses certain strategies to build an argument and persuade an audience.

For those who are good at critically analysing texts.

The Differences between the Two Tests

ACT-to-SAT Score Conversion

It is increasingly common for students to take both the SAT and the ACT as they prepare to apply to universities. The table below will help you decide which score will benefit your application most. For instance, if you scored a 1390 on the SAT and a 31 on the ACT, these scores will be regarded as exactly the same by universities. However, if you score 1130 on the SAT and 27 on the ACT, it would benefit you to send universities your ACT scores because a 27 out of 36 is a better score than 1130 out of 1600.

ACT Composite ScoreSAT Composite Score
361570 - 1600
351530 - 1560
341490 - 1520
331450 - 1480
321420 - 1440
311390 - 1410
301360 - 1380
291330 - 1350
281300 - 1320
271260 - 1290
261230 - 1250
251200 - 1220
241160 - 1190
231130 - 1150
221100 - 1120
211060 - 1090
201030 - 1050
19990 - 1020
18960 - 980
17920 - 950
16880 - 910
15830 - 870
14780 - 820
13730 - 770
12690 - 720
11650 - 680
10620 - 640
9590 - 610

ACT vs SAT

The Differences between the Two Tests

What are the differences between the ACT and the SAT?

Both tests are accepted by most universities in the US. However, as they have slight differences, it is recommended that candidates should take the test they would fare better in.

 

Should you be unable to decide which test might be more suitable for you, a good way to gauge your expertise is to attempt a full length practice test for both. IvyPrep offers free diagnostic tests for both the ACT and SAT. Upon completion of the tests, a detailed score report would be generated to assist with your decision in which test you should sit for.

 

Here are some key differences between the ACT and SAT:

 ACTSAT
ScoringComposite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)Composite score of 400 - 1600
FormatComputerizedPaper and Pencil
DatesOffered seven times a year:
February
April
June
July
September
October
December
Offered four times a year:
March
May
October
December
Math FormulasTo be memorizedProvided
Calculator PolicyAllowed in Math sectionAllowed in one Math sub-section
Science SectionYesNo

Should I take the ACT or the SAT?

The types of questions in each section of the ACT and the SAT vary. Ultimately, the best way to know which test is a better fit for you is to attempt both. Click here to schedule a free ACT and/or SAT Diagnostic Test.

 

The key differences in concepts tested on the ACT and the SAT are here:

 ACTSAT
ReadingQuestions are not in chronological order — being able to remember the location of exact details in passages gives you an advantage. You are given approx. 8 minutes per passage.Questions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.
WritingMore focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.More focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
MathWider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
Focus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.
ScienceComfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.No Science Section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.
EssayAnalyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.
Read a passage and explain how the author uses certain strategies to build an argument and persuade an audience.

For those who are good at critically analysing texts.

Score Conversion

The Differences between the Two Tests

ACT-to-SAT Score Conversion

It is increasingly common for students to take both the SAT and the ACT as they prepare to apply to universities. The table below will help you decide which score will benefit your application most. For instance, if you scored a 1390 on the SAT and a 31 on the ACT, these scores will be regarded as exactly the same by universities. However, if you score 1130 on the SAT and 27 on the ACT, it would benefit you to send universities your ACT scores because a 27 out of 36 is a better score than 1130 out of 1600.

ACT Composite ScoreSAT Composite Score
361570 - 1600
351530 - 1560
341490 - 1520
331450 - 1480
321420 - 1440
311390 - 1410
301360 - 1380
291330 - 1350
281300 - 1320
271260 - 1290
261230 - 1250
251200 - 1220
241160 - 1190
231130 - 1150
221100 - 1120
211060 - 1090
201030 - 1050
19990 - 1020
18960 - 980
17920 - 950
16880 - 910
15830 - 870
14780 - 820
13730 - 770
12690 - 720
11650 - 680
10620 - 640
9590 - 610