Difference between ACT and SAT


Both ACT and SAT are standardized college admission tests. The screening test measures the eligibility of one to undergo various undergraduate or postgraduate courses offered by colleges and Universities. The score obtained in these tests are concerned as the basic criterion for admission to the same. Before few decades, there existed certain irregularities in the validity of the scores of these exams. Colleges located in central part of the country gave value to ACT score where as those on eastern and western parts gave relevance to SAT. However, today both these tests are offered equal priority all over the country. Even though, both the exams are intended for same purpose, they differ from each other in certain aspects.


American College Testing or ACT analyzes competency of the aspirant to carry out college education. The exam is carried out in five sections. The test comprises questions on of Science, Mathematics, and English. The reading and writing skills in English language are evaluated. There will be a total of 215 questions, which is to be answered with in 3 hours.


This is a reasoning test, which is carried out in the time duration of 3 hours. The total number of questions is 140. The exam is carried out in 10 segments. Among them first three sections include questions from Mathematics. Next three sections include questions in Writing, and the last three sections contain questions on Critical Reasoning.

Key differences between ACT and SAT

  • SAT test basically evaluates the preparedness of the student to undergo College education where as ACT measures the educational maturity of a student.
  • ACT test analyzes the knowledge of the applicant where as SAT test measures the reasoning skills of the student.
  • SAT exam give emphasis to questions on vocabulary where as ACT test stresses on grammar and comprehension.
  • In ACT test, the candidate has to answer 215 questions within 3 hours where as in the SAT test one has to answer 140 questions.

Other than these ACT test is carried out with the same level of difficulty every year where as the complexity of SAT questions increases every year. There is negative marking for each wrong answer in SAT test, where as there is no negative marking in ACT test.



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