SAT Vs. ACT: Know the Differences

SAT and ACT are equally accepted and you can give either of the two depending on your choice. The content which is tested in both the tests is the same. The difference is that ACT has a Science Test and that SAT has math test. The differences between the two are given below:-








  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Algebra II
  • Algebra
  • Data Analysis
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Algebra II


  • Analysis
  • Interpretation
  • Basic Content
  • Problem Solving
  • Evaluation

Science is not tested




Reading Comprehension


  • Reading Comprehension
  • Evidence Based
  • Words in Context



Writing and Language


  • The Essay: Writing Test
  • English Test: Writing & Language multiple-choice questions



Grammatical and rhetorical skills are tested





  • Optional final section
  • 40 minutes
  • Not included in composite score
  • Topics are based on contemporary issues

  • Optional final section
  • 50 minutes
  • Separate score
  • Tests Reading, Analysis, and Writing Skills
  • Topic comes from a passage which is to be read on the test day.











4 sections

(English, Math, Reading, Science) along with Optional Essay (or Writing Test)


4 sections

(Evidence-Based Reading, Writing, Math without a calculator, Math with a calculator) along with an Optional Essay




3 hours, 35 min (with optional Writing Test)


3 hours, 50 minutes (with optional Essay)






Composite score of 1-36 based on average scores from the 4 test sections each one of which his of 36 marks.



Score is out of 1600: 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and 800 for Math.


Negative Marking

No negative marking

No negative marking


Choosing Between the Two

The math section of ACT is more rigorous than SAT and so if you are someone who does well in math then you can consider opting for ACT. However, if you are someone who takes more time to finish a test then SAT is better since the duration for the same is 3 hours and 50 minutes. For professional help regarding making the choice and coaching services you can contact the  SAT coaching in Nagpur. ACT has 3 hours and 35 minutes for testing. If you cannot decide which exam to choose then you can simply appear for both the exams. The content of both the exams is almost similar and therefore your choice depends on how you handle the time and pressure. This is because SAT gives you a lot of time to think whereas ACT needs you to finish your test in time. Thus depending upon your needs you can make the decision.

There is indeed a simpler way of judging whether you want to take the ACT test or the SAT one based on how you answer the questions given below:-

  1. You panic in case of time limits: You feel that you cannot perform at your best when faced with the time crunch and you need more time.
  1. You want to solve every question: You cannot stand the idea of not solving every question and you must solve all the questions.
  1. You cannot spot details while reading: You are very methodical while reading and expect the answers to come to you directly. You also find it difficult to retain the details and cannot remember the exact information.
  1. You do not like geometry: You do not like to memorize the formulas and struggle with geometry.
  1. You are not so fond of science: You struggle with quantitative thinking and do not like science.

If you can relate to most of the points mentioned above then you are advised to go for SAT. You can also checkout the points below to know if you need to appear for ACT.

  1. You struggle with vocabulary: You find it difficult to memorize difficult words and find the language challenging.
  1. You don’t know how to justify your answer: You know how to identify the right answer and you are sure about it but do not know how to go about explaining the logic behind it or justifying your choice
  1. You prefer using calculator to do the math: You completely freak out from the idea of not using the calculators.
  1. You like to give your opinion: You like to present your own point and you enjoy backing it up with valid evidences.
  1. You like it when different topics are tested in different sections: You like it better when a particular section is tested differently and the concepts are not mixed randomly.

If you could relate to the above stated points then ACT is a better option for you over SAT.

All the Best!