Note that there's no penalty for an incorrect response on the ACT. On the SAT, you lose a quarter-point.


Format Comparison


3 hours, 25 minutes
(including optional Writing test)

3 hours, 45 minutes

Achievement test
Measures general education development.

Reasoning test
Measures reasoning and critical thinking skills.

Made up of five tests: English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing.

Made up of three tests: Critical Reading (3 sections); Math (3 sections); Writing, including essay (3 sections).

The order of the tests is always the same: English, Math, Reading, Science, Essay.

The essay is always first, followed by the six, 25-minute sections (in random order) and then the two, 20-minute sections (in random order); the 10-minute Writing section is always last.

All questions are multiple-choice.

With the exception of the 10 grid-in Math questions, all questions are multiple-choice.

No penalty for an incorrect response.

One-quarter-point penalty for an incorrect response.

The English, Math, Reading, and Science tests are each scored 1-36. The optional Writing test is scored 1-12.

The Composite Score (1-36) is the average of the English, Math, Reading, and Science scores.

The Critical Reading, Math, and Writing tests are each scored 200-800. The essay section is scored 2-12 and makes up approximately 30% of the Writing score.

ACT-SAT Score Concordance Tables
(as on the ACT’s website)

SAT-ACT Score Concordance Tables
(as on the SAT’s website)