Describes the key differences between the SAT and the ACT. Some students may do well on one rather than the other.
The ACT is a test designed to measure college readiness. If you are deciding whether to take the SAT or the ACT, you should consider the differences between the two tests -- some obvious and some subtle. The key differences between the SAT and the ACT are outlined below. Many students who don't do well on the SAT can score higher on the ACT. With proper training (such as Optimal SAT Prep or Optimal ACT Prep), any student can do well on either or both tests.
Scores range from 200 to 800 for total of 2400 on 3 sections combined. The maximum possible essay score is 12.
Contains no trigonometry, complex numbers or a Science Reasoning section. No math above Algebra II is needed.
There is a penalty for wrong answers, except for the grid-in (non-multiple choice) math questions.
Many students find word problems difficult until we show them how to solve them with ease.
Scores in each section range from 1 to 36.
There is no penalty for wrong answers.
As a general rule, ACT math questions are more straight-forward, in that, they are more like textbook questions.
The math section contains elementary trigonometry and complex numbers and more difficult permutations/combinations than the SAT.
Many students find the Science Reasoning section difficult even though it is essentially analytical/critical reading coupled with logical reasoning and interpretation of graphs.