So How Do These Tests Stack Up to Each Other?

One of the most important decisions for high school students preparing for college, is which college admissions exam should I take (SAT or ACT)? The NEW SAT, which will be introduced in March 2016 mirrors the current ACT in more ways than before, however there are still numerous differences such as the problem solving process, how concepts are presented, and other content related material. No worries, so here at ConnectPrep we’ve mastered both exams and can help you do the same.

test-structure

Test Structure

The NEW SAT has only one reading section and one writing section—the math section is divided into a calculator portion and a no-calculator portions. All of the sections will always be in the same order. Total test time: 3 hours, plus the optional essay.

The ACT structure remains the same, with the exception of the new essay, which will be longer.

SAT

Reading: 52 questions, 65 minutes

Writing and Language: 44 questions, 35 minutes

Math: no calculator—20 questions, 25 min; with calculator—38 questions, 55 min

Optional Essay: 1 prompt, 50 min

ACT

English: 75 questions, 45 min

Reading: 40 questions, 35 min

Math: 60 questions, 60 min

Science: 40 questions, 35 min

Optional Writing 1 prompt, 40 min

scoring

Scoring

NEW SAT reverts back to the 400-1600 scale. Now the writing and reading sections will count the same as the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score, which will be combined with the Math score to create a final score between 400-1600.

SAT

No more wrong answer penalty. There will no longer be 1/4 point penalty for every wrong answer!

The essay will be given three different scores and no longer affects your total score. The new optional SAT essay will be similar to the ACT essay.

    • Each test taker will receive a separate essay score that doesn’t factor into your score on the 400-1600 range.
    • There is also a change with the essay score. Instead of just one score between 2 and 12, each test taker will get three scores, for reading, analysis, and writing, between 2 and 8.

ACT

The ACT scoring: section scores from 1-36 averaged to create a composite also between 1 and 36.

The exception is the ACT Writing. It will still be a separate score, but it will now be on a scale of 1-36, rather than 2-12. Also, like the new SAT essay, it will be scored across multiple areas: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions. Each of the subscores will be between 2 and 12.

reading-blue

Overview: Reading

The New SAT reading will include only longer passages ( Sentence completions and short passages are no longer part of the test)
There will be no sentence completions or short passages
Similar to the ACT reading: there will be a series of 500-750 word passages with questions.
Both tests will feature paired passages

SAT

Time: 65 Min

# of Questions: 5 passages, 52 questions

Passage Types: 1 U.S. or World Literature, 2 History or Social Studies, 2 Science

Question Types: Main Idea, Vocab-in-Context, Inference, Evidence Support, Data Reasoning, Technique, Detail-Oriented

ACT

Time: 35 Min

# of Questions: 4 passages, 40 questions

Passage Types: 1 Prose Fiction or Literary Narrative, 1 Social Sciences, 1 Humanities, 1 Natural Science

Question Types: Main Idea, Vocab-in-Context, Inference, Detail-Oriented

math-tablet

Overview: Math

The NEW SAT has aligned itself more towards the Common Core Math curriculum being taught in classrooms across the country. The math is more straightforward similar to the ACT and will include a few trigonometry and complex numbers problems.

SAT

Time: Calculator: 55 min, No Calculator: 25 min

# of Questions: Calculator: 38 questions, No Calculator: 20 questions

Topics:

    • Heart of Algebra — 33%
    • Problem Solving and Data Analysis — 28%
    • Passport to Advanced Math — 29%
    • Additional Topics in Math — 10%

ACT

Time: Calculator: 60 min

# of Questions: 60 questions

Topics:

        • Pre-algebra — 20-25%
        • Elementary algebra — 15-20%
        • Intermediate algebra — 15-20%
        • Coordinate geometry — 15-20%
        • Plane geometry — 20-25%
        • Trigonometry — 5-10%
science-icon-no-vapor

Overview: Science

The NEW SAT has aligned itself more towards the Common Core Math curriculum being taught in classrooms across the country. The math is more straightforward similar to the ACT and will include a few trigonometry and complex numbers problems.

SAT

There will not be a science section on the NEW SAT. The NEW SAT will contain a few data interpretation questions similar to the ACT. In 3 sections, there will be chart/graph analysis questions along with two reading passages that focus on science topics.

ACT

The ACT science section comes down to data analysis. Understanding the information in charts and graphs. It does not require prior knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc. A test taker should learn specific strategies to score well on this section.

essay-icon

Overview:Essay

The essay is the one section for which both tests are undergoing a major overhaul. Moreover, the SAT essay and ACT writing test are both becoming more complex, rather than less so, and they will both be optional.

Ideally, the changes to the essay will create results that better reflect your ability to understand and build arguments, though it remains to be seen how many schools will require the essay section once it’s optional for both tests.

SAT

Time: 50 Minutes

Optional?: Yes

Scoring Domains: Writing, Reading, and Analysis

ACT

Time: 40 Minutes

Optional?: Yes

Scoring Domains: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions

Contact Us

Thanks for reaching out to us! We'll respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search