SAT vs. ACT At a Glance
How often is it administered?
SAT: Seven times per year.
ACT: Six times per year.
What is the test structure?
SAT: Ten sections: 3 Critical Reading; 3 Math; 3 Writing; 1 Experimental.
The experimental section looks just like a regular section.
ACT: Five sections: English, Math, Reading, Reasoning (Science), and Writing.
What does each section test?
SAT: Math: up to geometry and algebra II
Reading: sentence completions, short and long critical reading passages
Writing: grammar, usage, word choice, and a mandatory essay
ACT: Math: up to trigonometry
Reasoning; charts, graphs, interpretations of science-based material
Reading: four passages of prose fiction, social humanities, and natural science
Writing: optional essay
Is there a penalty for wrong answers?
SAT: Yes. ¼ of a point is taken off for each wrong answer.
How is the test scored?
SAT: 200-800 per section, added together for a score of 600-2400; 2-12 for the essay
ACT: 1-36 for each subject; averaged composite score; 2-12 for the essay