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
English: grammar
Writing: optional essay

Is there a penalty for wrong answers?

SAT: Yes. ¼ of a point is taken off for each wrong answer.
ACT: No.

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

How can I register?

SAT: Educational Testing Service: www.collegeboard.com
ACT: ACT, Inc: www.ACTstudent.org