SAT or ACT? Part 2

by Dr. Emily Matson, Test Prep Specialist

Last post, we discussed some differences between the SAT and ACT Verbal sections, and today we will focus on Math and Science. If Math is your student’s A-game, then the SAT may be their best bet, whereas if your student loves Science, then they might do better taking the ACT. Here are some of the major differences between the Math and Science sections on the two tests:

  1. The ACT has a science section, whereas the SAT does not. 
  2. The SAT contains 2 Math sections: Math Calculator and Math No Calculator. The ACT, on the other hand, only has 1 Math section, on which a calculator can be used. 
  3. The ACT only has multiple-choice Math questions, whereas the SAT has both multiple-choice and grid-in Math questions. 
  4. Math is only 1/4 of your total score on the ACT; it is 1/2 your total score on the SAT. 
  5. The SAT, unlike the ACT, provides you with a diagram of Math formulas. 
  6. The SAT gives you more time per Math question than the ACT: 87 sec./question on the Calculator section on the SAT vs. 60 sec./question on the ACT. 
  7. The ACT tests a few Math concepts that the SAT does not: matrices, graphs of trig functions, and logarithms.        


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