With all the articles out there giving you SAT vs ACT comparisons, I bet you’d like to see something a little more visually appealing like an infographic?
Well lucky for you, we re-vamped our SAT vs ACT infographic from 2016. 😉
We’re also going to break it down piece by piece with more deets!
In the past, 1/4 point would be deducted for every wrong answer on the SAT so you would have been advised to skip the questions you didn’t know.
That’s no longer the case! Now, on both the SAT and ACT, there are ZERO points penalized for wrong answers.
The SAT also gives you 10 more minutes than the ACT with essay. That time, on either test, is precious. So even though you won’t be penalized for guessing, you should be strategic about how you guess.
Length of Test
There is not much difference in ACT or SAT when it comes to the length of the test even though ACT has a Science section. As presented in the infographics, the SAT is taken in 3 hours (without the essay) and 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay). Meanwhile, the ACT is taken in 2 hours, 55 minutes (without the essay), and 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay).
The third thing we will focus on this review of SAT vs ACT is the test structure. The SAT offers three required tests. This includes Reading, Writing & Language, and Math. Meanwhile, the ACT has four required tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science & Reasoning. Having Science as a test section is perhaps the greatest difference between the two tests.
Both the ACT or SAT now have optional essays. Whether or not you should take the essay is up to, however, more opportunities will open up to you when you take it. You should also ask the school/s you are applying to if they require the essay test score. If that is the case, you have no choice but to take the essay test.
The SAT Essay Score Range
The SAT essay is actually broken up into 3 different dimensions, or sections, with a possibility of 1-4 points each time:
- Reading = 1-4
- Analysis = 1-4
- Writing = 1-4
1-4 is NOT the total amount of points possible per dimension. It is the total amount of points possible PER scorer.
You can receive 2-8 points per dimension.
Test Scoring Range
Another notable difference between SAT vs ACT is the scoring scale. For the SAT, the 2016 revised scoring scale is from 400 to 1600. On the other hand, the ACT’s scoring range is 1 to 36.
Cost of the Test
The difference between SAT vs ACT when it comes to registration fee is also not that significant. The SAT costs $49.50 without the essay and $64.50 with essay while the ACT costs $52 without the essay and $68 with an essay.
Both tests have a reading section so if you are wondering which to take, ACT or SAT, the answer is either of the two because they are almost the same. The SAT has five passages while the ACT has four passages.
SAT Math includes:
- Algebra I & II
- Geometry, Trigonometry, & Data Analysis
ACT Math includes:
- Algebra I & II
- Geometry, Trigonometry, & Probability and Statistics
Important note: The SAT’s math section is split into 2 portions:
- With Calculator
- Without Calculator
Never fear. The “without calculator” portion of the test is not meant to trick you. These are problems that ARE possible to be solved without using a calculator.
The ACT, on the other hand, allows a calculator on all of its math.
If you are not good at Science and wondering which to take: ACT or SAT, well, the SAT is for you! SAT does not have a Science Section while the ACT has. It is more focused on critical thinking skills.
We hope this infographic comparing the SAT vs ACT will help you in understanding the two exams! If you want more advice about which is right for you, just ask!
And as a general rule, it doesn’t hurt to take both ACT or SAT and see if you are stronger in one or the other.
More information and resources for the SAT:
- The SAT (official website)
Blogs by Student-tutor:
- Top 10 New SAT Changes in Infographics
- Top SAT Prep Tips and Tricks to Ace the Exam!
- 7 SAT Grammar Rules You Should Know
- Tips to Improve Your SAT Essay
- Cheat Sheet for the Night Before the SAT
More information and resources for the ACT:
- The ACT (official website)
Blogs by Student-tutor:
- Should I Take the ACT writing test?
- ACT/SAT Extra time for Learning Disabilities
- 15 Tips to Increase Speed on the ACT Science Section
Did we answer all your questions about the differences between the SAT vs ACT? Let us know in the comments below!
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