SAT or ACT?

SAT or ACT? Which is Right for You?

 

 

SAT

ACT

Cost

$52 (+16 essay)

$50.50 (+17 essay)

Fee waiver?

Yes

Yes

Length

3 hrs (+50 min. essay)

3 hrs, 15 min (+40 min. essay)

Accommodations?

Yes

Yes

Emphasis

Reasoning and critical thinking

Skills and content knowledge

Components

3 (+essay)

Mostly multiple choice (some “grid-in” for Math)

4 (+essay)

All multiple choice

–Language

Reading (65 min, 52 questions)

main idea, supporting evidence, interpreting information

 

Writing and language (35 min, 44 questions)

claims and evidence, clarity, word choice, grammar, mechanics

Reading (35 min, 40 questions)

central ideas, summarizing information, drawing conclusions, structure

 

English (45 min, 75 questions)

grammar and usage conventions, topic development, word choice

–Math

2 sections (80 min, 58 questions)

Calculator allowed only on first section

Basic formulas provided

linear equations, data analysis, complex equations

(60 min, 60 questions)

Calculator allowed on all questions

No formulas provided

Mostly essential math skills with some algebra, geometry,  statistics

–Science

n/a

(35 min, 40 questions)

interpreting data, evaluating experiments and results

Questions

154 (70 seconds per question)

215 (49 seconds per question)

Essay

Optional (50 min)

Read a passage, then analyze how author effectively uses argumentation techniques

Optional (40 min)

Respond to prompt, construct an original argument

Website

http://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat

http://act.org

Scoring

400—1600

No penalty for guessing

1—36

No penalty for guessing

Free practice test?

Yes

Yes

Best for…

students heading to college who prefer fewer, higher-order thinking questions with more breathing room to answer; applying what you’ve learned in high school; and testing your aptitude for college-level thinking.

students heading to college or the work force who prefer answering concrete questions quickly; assessing what you’ve learned in high school; and testing your career readiness in multiple fields.

 

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