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Choosing the right test

Most universities accept both SAT and ACT, there is absolutely no added advantage in taking one test over the other. The most direct advice would be to take the test you score better in. There are many who take both tests and submit the higher score.

Taking both tests solely depends on the preparation time. Of course, it would be more efficient if you focused on one standardised test. What we’re trying to say is – there’s absolutely no need to register & attempt both tests.

What is the difference?

One way to determine which tests candidates should take, is to simply take a full-length practice test for each. Just like any other test, it’s important to familiarise with the timing and pacing for each section.

Lucky you! – Prep Zone Academy offers free diagnostic tests for both ACT and SAT. So before you jump the gun & decide to register for both tests, take the diagnostic tests first.

Here’s an overview of the differences in their test structure.

Test Duration (Excluding breaks)3 hrs – Without Essay
3 hrs 50 mins – With Essay
2 hrs 55 mins – Without Essay
3 hrs 35 mins – With Essay
  1. Reading Test
  2. Writing & Language Test
  3. Math Test (No Calculator)
  4. Math Test (Calculator)
  5. Essay (Optional)
  1. English
  2. Math
  3. Reading
  4. Science
  5. Writing (Optional)
Time per section (minutes)/question (seconds)Reading Test – 65mins/75s
Writing & Language Test – 35mins/47s
Math Test (No Calculator) – 25mins/75s
Math Test (Calculator) – 55mins/86s
Essay (Optional) – 50mins
English Test – 45mins/36s
Math Test (Calculator) – 60mins/60s
Reading Test – 35mins/52s
Science Test – 35mins/52s
Writing (Optional) – 40mins
Questions per sectionTotal Questions – 154

Reading Test – 52
Writing & Language Test – 44
Math Test (No Calculator) – 20
Math Test (Calculator) – 38
Essay (Optional) – 1 Essay

Total Questions – 215

English Test – 75
Math Test – 60
Reading Test – 40
Science Test – 40
Essay (Optional) – 1 Essay

ScoringThe Reading + Writing and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score (out of 1600).

The optional Essay does not count toward your final score.

Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score (out of 36) is the average of your four section scores.


DifficultyTrickier Questions, More time per question, Math formulas providedDirect Questions, Less time per question, Math formulas not provided

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