Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either the SAT or ACT, and do not favor one test over the other. That said, college-bound students are increasingly taking??both the SAT and ACT.?Changes made to the SAT in 2016?have made?it easier than ever to prep for both tests concurrently?and earn competitive scores on both!?The best way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed??full-length practice test??of?each type. Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit.

Features SAT ACT
Widely accepted All U.S. colleges All U.S. colleges
Everyday math formulas provided Yes No
Tests the vocabulary you?ll use Yes Yes
Essay is optional Yes Yes
Penalty for guessing No No
Structure and Timing SAT ACT
Testing time 3 hours
+ 50-minute essay (optional)
2 hours 55 minutes
+ 40-minute essay (optional)
Structure 3 tests + optional essay 4 tests + optional writing test
Number of questions 154 215
Time per question 1 minute, 10 seconds 49 seconds
Score range Composite 400?1600 (SAT Essay: reported in 3 dimensions, each 2?8) Composite 1?36 (writing domain scores: 2?12)
Test components Reading Test
65 minutes
52 questions


Writing and Language Test
35 minutes
44 questions

Math Test
80 minutes
58 questions

Reading Test
35 minutes
40 questions


English Test
45 minutes
75 questions

Math Test
60 minutes
60 questions

Science Test
35 minutes
40 questions

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