ACT v. SAT

You get more options with ACT®

Beginning in September 2020, you can take section retesting, get faster results with online testing, and participate in superscoring.

You can improve your scholarship potential

A school counselor found, after 10 years of students taking both the ACT and SAT®, that more scholarships favored the ACT.

You've already been studying for the ACT for years

The test is designed so by the end of your junior year, you've likely covered all the material that you will see on the test.

You know which questions count

On the SAT, you might spend time on a question without knowing it doesn't count toward your score. This is not the case on the ACT.

You can win a scholarship from ACT

Enter for your chance to win a $15,000 scholarship plus tech package while registering for the ACT test.

You can use your calculator for the whole math test—we don't mind

ACT lets you use your calculator for the entire math section! That is not true on the SAT.

You can prep for the ACT test for FREE

ACT® Academy™ is the go-to place to get the most comprehensive, FREE personalized practice for the ACT.

You are more than a score

The ACT includes an education and career planning section to help you plan for life after high school.

Comparison of the ACT to the SAT*

 

ACT

SAT

Accepted at all U.S. Colleges yes yes
Calculator allowed for entire math test yes no
Essay is optional yes yes
No penalty for guessing yes yes
Free daily practice questions yes yes
Free comprehensive test practice yes yes
Test fees waived for eligible students yes yes
Fee waiver students eligible for college application fee waiver yes yes
Free score reports yes yes
All tests 1 hour or less yes no
Measures what you learn in high school yes yes
You always know which questions count yes no
You have access to English learner supports yes no
You get a STEM score yes no
Subject scores are balanced yes no
Testing time 2 hours 55 minutes
+ 40-minute essay (optional)
3 hours
+ 50-minute essay (optional)
Structure 4 tests + optional writing test 3 tests + optional essay
Longest test 1 hr 1 hr 20 min
Shortest test 35 min 35 min
Score range Composite 1–36 (writing domain scores: 2–12) Composite 400–1600 (SAT Essay: reported in 3 dimensions, each 2–8)

*Based on publicly released SAT information.