Standardized Testing

All colleges accept both the SAT and the ACT.   Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions and merit-based scholarships. Most colleges don't prefer one test over the other. The SAT is now a digital exam, although students who need accommodations may request a paper exam. The ACT continues to be a paper and pencil exam. Take time to understand the differences and take the test that best suits you.  Many students take both tests. It’s highly advisable to prep for the tests. Take practice exams and study.  Statistically, the second SAT test administration raises the score about 50 – 100 points.  Scores tend to level off for subsequent tests.

Test Optional

There are over 700 colleges that are now standardized test optional.
Please go to for a current list of test-optional colleges and universities.

Test Comparison

SAT - Digital Only

Stage Adaptive. Questions given in the second module depend on student performance in the first module.

ACT - Paper & Pencil

The ACT is not an adaptive test; it is static in format.


2 hours, 14 minutes  

2 hours, 55 minutes


2 Sections: Reading/Writing and Math
Reading & Writing: 64 minutes
Two 32 minute modules
Math: 70 minutes 
Two 35 minute modules 

4 Sections: 
English: 45 Minutes
Math: 60 minutes
Reading: 35 minutes
Science: 35 Minutes
Optional Essay: 40 minutes


Critical Reading & Writing






Essay (optional)


Passages in the Reading and Writing section range from 25 to 150 words. Passages represent the subject areas of literature, history/social studies, the humanities, and science.

The four passages come in the same order and from the same categories:
1. Literary narrative or prose fiction
2. Social sciences
3. Humanities
4. Natural sciences



 35 minutes. Tests critical thinking skills, not specific science knowledge. 6 long passages with graphs and 40 questions.


Calculator Allowed

1. Algebra
2. Advanced Math
3. Problem Solving and Data Analysis
4. Geometry and Trigonometry

3 overlapping areas and 5 question types
1. Preparing for Higher Math: Number & Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability
2. Integrating Essential Skills
3. Statistics & Probability


Available only in states where it's required as part of SAT School Day administrations.

Optional 40-minute essay comes after the main ACT exam. Analyze a prompt with a complex issue and three perspectives. Craft your own viewpoint and analyze how it relates to the given perspectives. 


400-1600 Total Score  

200-800: Reading & Writing

200-800: Math

Composite score on a scale of 1–36
This score is an average of your scores on the 4 multiple-choice test sections (each section is scored on 1–36 scale).
The optional Writing Test is not included in the composite score.


No penalty for incorrect answers

No penalty for incorrect answers

Score Choice

Student decides which scores are sent

Student decides which scores are sent

Additional Information