SAT or ACT? Do you know which test is right for you?

Colleges accept both tests equally, so the choice is up to you! Here's what you need to know to compare the exams.

 SATACT
Why Take It

Colleges use SAT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.

Colleges use ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.

Test Structure
  • Math

  • Reading

  • Writing and Language

  •  

Essay (Optional)
  • Math

  • Reading

  • English

  • Science

Essay (Optional)
Length
  • 3 hours (without essay)

  • 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)

  • 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)

  • 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)

Reading

5 reading passages

4 reading passages

Science

None

1 science section testing your critical thinking skills (not your specific science knowledge)

Math Covers:
  • Arithmetic

  • Algebra I & II

  • Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis

Covers:
  • Arithmetic

  • Algebra I & II

  • Geometry and Trigonometry

Tools

Some math questions don't allow you to use a calculator.

You can use a calculator on all math questions.

Essays

Optional. The essay will test your comprehension of a source text.

Optional. The essay will test how well you evaluate and analyze complex issues.

How It's Scored

Scored on a scale of 400–1600

Scored on a scale of 1–36

Need help deciding between the ACT and the SAT? Try a free practice test for each and see how you score!

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