SAT and ACT are your gateway to some of the world's best universities
In this article you will find everything you need to know about SAT and ACT

Diana Romanova
StudyFree manager
Many universities require you to submit SAT and ACT results as a part of the application process. Your score on these exams can be a determining factor in your admission to your dream school, as well is in your scholarship prospects. In this article you will find everything there is to know about SAT and ACT, the scores that you need to get in and which one would be right for you, as well as which universities accept SAT/ACT results.
What are SAT/ACT tests?
SAT and ACT exams are traditionally required during the college application process. They are multiple choice and usually taken offline.
Purpose of the exams:
The purpose of SAT/ACT is to test the students' readiness for university admission and to supply the universities with information that they will need to compare and choose between future admission candidates.
The university you are applying to will evaluate your SAT/ACT scores, GPA, the classes you've taken in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers and mentors, extracurricular activities, college interviews, and motivation letters/personal essays. The significance of test results varies from university to university.

In general, however, the higher you score on SAT/ACT, the higher is the chance that you will get into your dream school and qualify for government and university-sponsored scholarships.

When do you need to take the SAT/ACT?
Many high schoolers take the SAT/ACT in the spring semester of their 10th grade or in the fall semester of 11th grade. It is important to reserve some time for a potential re-test in case you will find the results unsatisfactory. You can take the exams any time August through June. All the SAT test dates are available here, and the ACT dates are here.

Important:
ACT testing centers in New York are closed in February and July. Californian testing centers are closed in July.
What to expect from SAT/ACT?
The SAT exam has 2 sections:
1. Math
2. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

There is also an essay section, but it is not mandatory. If you choose to complete it, the SAT essay score will be filed separately from the main sections of the exam. Some universities require you to complete the essay section in order to be considered as an admission candidate.

You can check whether the SAT essay is required on your school's website or reach out to us and get access to any university's full list of requirements, application deadlines, document samples and a 100% admission guarantee.

The ACT exam has 4 sections:
1. English
2. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
3. Math
4. Science
The ACT exam also includes a non-mandatory essay. The essay portion takes 40 minutes of the exam. Some universities require you to complete the essay portion in order to be considered as an admission candidate.
How long do the SAT and ACT last?
The SAT takes 3 hours
If you decide to complete the essay portion, you will be given 3 hours and 50 minutes
The ACT takes 2 hours and 55 min
If you decide to complete the essay portion, you will be given 3 hours and 35 minutes.
How is the SAT/ACT score calculated?
Every SAT section is rated from 200 to 800 points. Your overall score is a sum of the section scores. The maximum SAT score is 1600. Essays are graded individually by the exam commission.

Every ACT section is measured from 1 to 36 points. Your final score is summed based on every section, also from 1 to 36 points. Essays are graded individually by the exam commission.

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
Many universities accept both test results and do not have a preference. The most effective method for choosing the exam is taking practice tests for both and seeing how well you do. Since the structure of the tests is nearly identical, you'll have to focus on the time constraints and the question content. Try these practice tests - QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both - to see which one works best for you
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How do I register for the SAT/ACT?
The registration dates usually close 5 weeks before the exam. You can register for the SAT/ACT online via the College Board website.
How do I prepare for the SAT/ACT?
You can use the SAT Prep Solutions Website or its ACT Prep solutions. There you can find various and affordable exam prep materials.

SAT vs ACT chart
For your convenience we have prepared a chart that allows you to compare the two exams and see which one suits you better.
SAT
ACT
Purpose of the exam
SAT scores are evaluated by universities in the process of considering admission and scholarship candidates
ACT scores are evaluated by universities in the process of considering admission and scholarship candidates
Structure of the exam
  • Reading
  • Writing & Language
  • Math
  • Essay (Optional)
  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science Reasoning
  • Essay (Optional)
Time of the exam
  • 3 hours (without essay)
  • 3 hours 50 minutes (with essay)
  • 2 hours and 55 minutes (without essay)
  • 3 hours and 40 minutes (with essay)
Reading section
5 texts
4 texts
Science section
-
1 Science section that evaluates critical reasoning (rather than specific science-related skills)
Math section
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra 1 and 2
  • Geometry, Trigonometry, Analysis
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra 1 and 2
  • Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability/Statistics
Calculator policy
A part of the Math section does not require/allow a calculator
You can use a calculator throughout the entire Math section
Essay
Optional. The essay evaluates your reading comprehension and your understanding of the given text.
Optional. The essay evaluates your ability to assess and analyze various difficult issues (ethical dilemmas etc)
Scores
400–1600
1–36

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