COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will extend our “Enroll with Confidence” refund policies to cover students who enroll on or after August 1st. For full details, please click here.

Which Test is right for you?

 Here are a few differences that will help you decide.


What's on the test?

ACT:  English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test 
SAT:  Math, Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and an optional essay

How is it scored?

ACT:  Overall score of 1–36 (1–36 in each test) 
SAT:  Overall score of 400–1600 (200–800 in each section)

How long is it?

ACT:  2 hours, 55 minutes (no Writing Test); 3 hours, 35 minutes (with Writing Test) 
SAT:  3 hours (no essay); 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)

Do wrong answers cost points?

ACT:  No 
SAT:  No

Which test is best?

Which test is best? If you’re not sure, try a Free Practice Test . Your results will help you figure out what’s best for you.

redesigned March 2016
  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Optional Essay
  • Math
  • Evidence-based Reading and Writing
    • Reading
    • Writing and Language
  • Optional Essay
Composite score: 1–36
4 section scores in English, Math, Reading and Science (1–36 each)
Total score: 400–1600
2 section scores for Math and Evidence-based
Reading and Writing: 200–800
2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)
3 hours, 35 minutes (with essay)
3 hours (without essay)
3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
None None
2 sections (English, Reading)
  • Passage-based grammar—including
  • Reading passages drawn from Fiction,
    Social Sciences, Humanities and Natural Sciences
2 sections (Reading test, Writing and Language test)
  • No more sentence completions; focus on multiple-meaning words
  • Reading passages will draw from significant historical or scientific documents—may include informational graphics, such as charts
  • Passages will include complex structure and vocabulary
  • Passage-based grammar—including punctuation
Algebra I & II
Algebra I & II 
The essay is optional (40 minutes, timed, at the end of test)
  • Students will evaluate and analyze multiple perspectives on a complex issue
  • Essay scores in 4 areas: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization and language use
The essay is optional (50 minutes, timed, at the end of test)
  • Students will be provided with a substantial passage (600–700 words) and asked to analyze how the author built his or her argument; students will need to understand the techniques the author used to write persuasively.
  • Essay scores are based on comprehension of the provided passage, analysis of arguments and use of evidence by the author, and providing support for an argument.


Don't forget, Class of 2017  –   The New PSAT started in 2015.

For more information, visit us at

Free Consultation with Our Test Experts

Still not sure which test to take? Give us a call. We'll help you determine your core strengths and testing-taking approach. For more info about the redesigned SAT, visit .