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The SAT and ACT are admissions exams used by colleges throughout the United States. While they are slightly different in terms of structure, the two exams generally cover the same content, and colleges do not prefer one exam over another. Neither exam applies a penalty for incorrect answers.

About the SAT

The SAT exam is split into multiple sections, based on content. These sections are Reading, Writing & Language, and Math. The optional essay has been discontinued. Learn more about the SAT on the Official College Board Site.

SAT Scoring

The SAT exam is scored on a 400-1600 point composite scale. The scores of each individual exam are weighted differently, but scores are always split into English and Mathematics subscores, which are equally a maximum of 800 points. Learn more about SAT scoring on the College Board SAT Scoring Page.

SAT Format
Reading52 Questions65 Minutes
Writing & Language44 Questions35 Minutes
Mathematics (No Calculator)20 Questions25 Minutes
Mathematics (Calculator)38 Questions55 Minutes
Total154 Questions3 Hours

About the ACT

The ACT exam is split into multiple sections, based on content. These sections are English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Writing. Learn more about the SAT on the Official ACT Site.

ACT Scoring

The ACT exam is scored on a 1-36 composite scale. The total composite score for any given exam will be calculated as the average of the scores for each section. The Math, Science, English, and Reading sections allow a maximum score of 36 each, while scores for the Writing section range between 2 and 12. Learn more about ACT scoring on the ACT Scoring Page.

ACT Format
English75 Questions45 Minutes
Mathematics60 Questions60 Minutes
Reading40 Questions35 Minutes
Science40 Questions35 Minutes
Writing1 Prompt40 Minutes
Total215 Questions + 1 Prompt3 Hours 35 Minutes

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