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Compare the New SAT to the ACT

Compare the New SAT to the ACT

 

Taking the SAT is the best way to show colleges you have the skills and knowledge they want most. Find out how the new SAT, launching in March, compares to the ACT.*

 

Test Snapshot

Features

New SAT

ACT

Widely accepted

All U.S. colleges

Almost all U.S. colleges

Major redesign

2016 SAT is based on the latest research on the skills colleges value most.

No recent significant revisions.

Tests the vocabulary you’ll use

Yes

Yes

Everyday math formulas provided

Yes

No

Essay is optional

Yes

Yes

Penalty for guessing

No

No

Cost

$54.50 ($43 without essay)

$56.50 ($39.50 without essay)

Free Practice

Resources

New SAT

ACT

Free daily practice questions

Yes, the free mobile app, Daily Practice for the New SAT.

Yes

Free comprehensive test practice

Yes, through Khan Academy®, with over 4,000 questions and video lessons.

No

Free, downloadable practice tests

Yes

No

Mobile app that instantly scores paper tests

Yes, Daily Practice for the New SAT.

No

 

Flexibility

Schedule

New SAT

ACT

Test days

7 times a year

6 times a year

Regular registration deadline

About 4 weeks before test day. You pay a late fee for registering later.

About 5 weeks before test day. You pay a late fee for registering later.

Late registration closes

About 11 days before test day

20+ days before test day

Fee Waivers

Benefits and Rules

New SAT

ACT

Test fees waived for eligible students

Yes

Yes

Waivers cover late fees

Yes

No

Miss the test, forfeit your fee waiver

No

Yes

Four college application fee waivers sent directly to eligible students

Yes

No

 

Test Format

Structure and Timing

New SAT

ACT

Testing time

3 hours
+ 50-minute essay (optional)

2 hours 55 minutes
+ 40-minute essay (optional)

Structure

3 tests + optional essay

4 tests + optional writing test

Number of questions

154

215

Time per question

1 minute, 10 seconds

49 seconds

Score range

Composite 400–1600 (SAT Essay: reported in 3 dimensions, each 2–8)

Composite 1–36 (writing domain scores: 2–12)

Test length and timing

Reading Test
65 minutes
52 questions

Writing and Language Test
35 minutes
44 questions

Math Test
80 minutes
58 questions

Reading Test
35 minutes
40 questions

English Test
45 minutes
75 questions

Math Test
60 minutes
60 questions

Science Test
35 minutes
40 questions

 



Source: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org