New SAT to ACT Comparison

There has been a great confusion amongst the students when it comes to ACT vs SAT. In spring 2016, the College Board will release a redesigned New SAT Format that aims to better evaluate college-bound students. Many of these changes, bring to mind the comprehensive testing approach of the ACT, including new questions that focus on history and science analysis and real world math. However, it’s important to remember that SAT and ACT are still two very different tests. Below you will see the SAT ACT comparison, so it is easy to decide whether to go for SAT or ACT. This SAT ACT comparison helps you determine what test preparation methods you’ll need to do your best.

ACT vs New SAT



Your composite score will be the average of two areas, Evidence-Based Writing and Language, and Math. The essay portion provides one additional score that does not affect your composite score. Scores range from 400 to 1600, or 200 to 800 each for English and Math, while the essay is scored on a scale of 2 to 8. Your composite score will be the average of four scores in the areas of Math, English, Reading, and Science. The essay portion provides two additional scores that do not affect your composite score. Section and averaged composite scores range from 1 to 36.

Total Length

3 hours, plus an additional 50 minutes for the optional writing portion; 153 total questions. 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus an additional 30 minutes for the essay portion; a total of 215 questions.

The English Section

35 minutes long with 44 multiple-choice questions and four different passages. 45 minutes long with 75 multiple-choice questions and five different passages.

The Reading Section

65 minutes long with 52 questions. Asks questions that require use of evidence to reach conclusions from the passages. There are four long passages, and one double passage. 35 minutes long with 40 questions. Uses reasoning skills to determine and evaluate aspects of passages.

The Math Section

57 questions in 80 minutes emphasizing data analysis, algebra, and real world problem solving. Calculators are only allowed for the 55 minute calculator section, 25 minute no calculator section. 60 questions in 60 minutes emphasizing geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Calculators are allowed.

The Writing Section

50 minutes long. This section is now optional. The New SAT essay will provide a source material, and the prompt will ask the student to analyze that source (do they agree, disagree, strengths, weaknesses, etc). 30 minutes long; The New ACT essay will provide a source material on a controversial issue, as well as  three short excerpts expressing different perspectives on the issue. The student will need to  not only write a persuasive essay stating their own opinion on the issue, but they must address these differing perspectives in their essay as well.

The Science Section

Still not included on the SAT. 40 questions in 35 minutes. The ACT will continue to give the Science section at the end of the exam.

To learn more, visit the College Board’s SAT site and continue to follow Prepped & Polished to determine which test is the right one for you.
Are you taking the New SAT Test or the ACT? Any follow up qs about the SAT changes?

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