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SAT vs ACT

The Differences between the Two Tests

What are the differences between the SAT and the ACT?

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 SAT and ACT. 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 SAT and ACT:

 SATACT
ScoringComposite score of 400 - 1600Composite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)
FormatPaper and PencilComputerized
DatesOffered four times a year:
March
May
October
December
Offered seven times a year:
February
April
June
July
September
October
December
Math FormulasProvidedTo be memorized
Calculator PolicyAllowed in one Math sub-sectionAllowed in Math section
Science SectionNoYes

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

The types of questions in each section of the SAT and the ACT 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 SAT and/or ACT Diagnostic Test.

 

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

 SATACT
ReadingQuestions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.Questions 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.
WritingMore focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
More focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.
MathFocus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.Wider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
ScienceNo Science Section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.Comfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.
EssayRead 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.
Analyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.

The Differences between the Two Tests

SAT-to-ACT 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.

SAT Composite ScoreACT Composite Score
1570 - 160036
1530 - 156035
1490 - 152034
1450 - 148033
1420 - 144032
1390 - 141031
1360 - 138030
1330 - 135029
1300 - 132028
1260 - 129027
1230 - 125026
1200 - 122025
1160 - 119024
1130 - 115023
1100 - 112022
1060 - 109021
1030 - 105020
990 - 102019
960 - 98018
920 - 95017
880 - 91016
830 - 87015
780 - 82014
730 - 77013
690 - 72012
650 - 68011
620 - 64010
590 - 6109

SAT vs ACT

The Differences between the Two Tests

What are the differences between the SAT and the ACT?

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 SAT and ACT. 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 SAT and ACT:

 SATACT
ScoringComposite score of 400 - 1600Composite score out of 36 (average of all 4 sections)
FormatPaper and PencilComputerized
DatesOffered four times a year:
March
May
October
December
Offered seven times a year:
February
April
June
July
September
October
December
Math FormulasProvidedTo be memorized
Calculator PolicyAllowed in one Math sub-sectionAllowed in Math section
Science SectionNoYes

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

The types of questions in each section of the SAT and the ACT 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 SAT and/or ACT Diagnostic Test.

 

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

 SATACT
ReadingQuestions are always in chronological order; a number line is provided. You are given approx. 13 minutes per passage.Questions 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.
WritingMore focused on questions about
writing style, language precision and
vocabulary.
More focused on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and big idea questions.
MathFocus on Algebra, along with other topics such as Data Analysis and Modeling.Wider range of Mathematical concepts — such as logarithms, graphs of trigonometry
functions, and matrices.
ScienceNo Science Section. Scientific data and passages present in Reading and Writing sections.Comfort with scientific terms and experience gathering scientific data from charts and graphs will give you a greater advantage on the ACT.
EssayRead 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.
Analyze three perspectives on an issue and present your own.

For those good at logic and debate.

Score Conversion

The Differences between the Two Tests

SAT-to-ACT 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.

SAT Composite ScoreACT Composite Score
1570 - 160036
1530 - 156035
1490 - 152034
1450 - 148033
1420 - 144032
1390 - 141031
1360 - 138030
1330 - 135029
1300 - 132028
1260 - 129027
1230 - 125026
1200 - 122025
1160 - 119024
1130 - 115023
1100 - 112022
1060 - 109021
1030 - 105020
990 - 102019
960 - 98018
920 - 95017
880 - 91016
830 - 87015
780 - 82014
730 - 77013
690 - 72012
650 - 68011
620 - 64010
590 - 6109