SAT & ACT Information
&Many students actually improve their college admissions chances by taking both the ACT and the SAT. Virtually every school that requires standardized test scores will accept either the SAT or the ACT equally. So, students should keep an open mind about which test might be best for them. At OPHS we recommend that students take both exams at least once, just to see if they do better on one vs. the other. For some historical perspective, In September 2012 it was announced that for the first time in history more students took the ACT than the SAT (and that trend has continued. With the March 2016 test, the SAT returned to its previous 1600-point scale, with its essay portion made optional. It also dropped some of the obscure vocabulary words it had traditionally used. The math section was also narrowed in its focus. Plus, students are no longer penalized for incorrect answers and reading comprehension questions now weave in information from other subjects, such as history and science.So, What Is The Difference Between the ACT and SAT?
2. The ACT and redesigned SAT Math sections test similar concepts but are formatted differently.
3. The ACT Writing and redesigned SAT Essay sections are both optional but have completely different tasks.
4. The ACT and redesigned SAT scoring methods are more aligned with no penalty for guessing on either test.
ACT Redesigned SAT
(March 2016 and beyond)
Sections Reading, English, Math, and Science Reading, Writing & Language, and Math Essay Optional 40-min Essay Optional 50-min Essay Scoring Section Scores of 1-36 Section Scores of 200-800 Number of Questions 154 215 Time Allotted 3 hours or 3 hours and 40 minutes including the essay 3 hours or 3 hours and 50 minutes including the essay Test Length and Timing Reading Test
53 seconds per question
75 seconds per question
Category Current ACT Current SAT New SAT Test Fee $39.50
$56.50 (with writing)
$54.50 (with essay test)
Total Testing Time*
*Redesigned SAT testing time subject to research
2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes for the Essay [optional]) 3 hours and 45 minutes 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional]) Components Important FeaturesThe SAT, SAT & AP tests. Through the CollegeBoard's free website you can register for tests and release scores online. It also allows you to do nationwide college searches with hotlinks to the homepages of the schools. They also offer free test prep through Khan Academy for the R-SAT. The CollegeBoard website can be accessed at: http://sat.collegeboard.org/homeAmerican College Testing Program Inc. The ACT is a major college admissions company that administers the ACT test which student may take as an alternative to the SAT. They are also available on the web. There is a wealth of information about the ACT assessment including test-taking tips, sample questions, online registration, and automated score reporting. It can be accessed at: www.actstudent.org/
Last Modified on January 20, 2021