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Standardized Testing Comparison Chart

Which test should you take?

There are differences between the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and the ACT (American College Testing "college readiness assessment"). However, colleges weigh them equally. That means you get to choose which test is right for you.

Here are the primary differences:

SAT ACT
Test Length Approx. 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for optional essay) Approx. 3 hours (plus 40 minutes for optional essay)
Sections Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (Reading, Writing & Language), Math, plus an optional essay English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, plus an optional essay
Scoring Total score range: 400-1600; Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and Math sections scored between 200-800; Optional Writing Test score of 6-24 Composite of 1-36: based on average scores from English, Math, Reading, and Science sections. Optional Writing Test score of 2-12
Essay requirement Essay is optional Essay is optional
Penalty for wrong answers (i.e. random guessing) None None
Math Content Arithmetic
Algebra I & II
Geometry
Trigonometry
Data Analysis

(Note: Some math problems don’t allow use of calculator)
Arithmetic
Algebra I & II
Geometry
Trigonometry

Note: Calculator allowed for all math problems
Dates offered March
May
June
August
October
November
December
February
April
June
July
September
October
December
Registration links SAT ACT

 

SAT SUBJECT TESTS

Subjects available:

  • English: Literature
  • History: US History, World History
  • Mathematics: Math Level 1, Math Level 2
  • Science: Biology Ecological, Biology Molecular, Chemistry, Physics

Languages:

  • Chinese w/ Listening
  • French
  • French w/ Listening
  • German
  • German w/ Listening
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese w/ Listening
  • Korean w/ Listening
  • Latin
  • Spanish
  • Spanish w/ Listening
Notes:
  1. Each Subject Test is scored between 200-800 points
  2. All questions are multiple choice
  3. Not all colleges require Subject Tests (it’s up to you to find out)