SAT vs. ACT: What’s the Difference?

Free test-prep guide from Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

How does the SAT stack up against the ACT?

Trying to figure out which test you should take? Not sure how the SAT and ACT are different? Since your test scores affect your admissions chances, it’s important that you understand the differences between the two tests before you take them.

College admissions expert and author ofadMISSION POSSIBLE Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz is here for you. She's created a chart to show the differences betwen the SAT and ACT, including what's covered in the different test sections, how the tests are scored, and test question difficulty.

How often the tests are offered



Total time and number of sections


Breakdown of every content area covered by the SAT and ACT

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I founded my adMISSION POSSIBLE program 17 years ago because I wanted to give students a competitive edge in college admissions and—most importantly—help them be true to themselves every step of the way.

“Chock-full of user-friendly and student-centered advice on extracurricular activities, admission essays, letters of recommendation, test taking, and everything else students and parents need to know about the admissions process.”

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See all the differences between the tests, including:

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Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz

—Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Author of adMISSION POSSIBLE: The “Dare to Be Yourself” Guide for Getting into the Best Colleges for You

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How each test is scored


Test question difficulty


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