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SAT and ACT

College Entrance Exams

 

FAQs SAT ACT
Who accepts it? All 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. All 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S.
Why should I take it?
 The SAT measures your critical reasoning and verbal abilities. 

We recommend taking both the SAT and ACT if you qualify for a fee waiver.  
The test questions on the ACT are directly related to what you have learned in your high school courses in English, mathematics, reading, and science. 
 
We recommend taking both the SAT and ACT if you qualify for a fee waiver.
What is the scoring like?
Total Score:
400-1600
Evidenced-Based Reading & Writing Section:
200-800
Math:
200-800
SAT Writing:
Three scores ranging from 2-8
 
National Benchmark: 
Evidenced-Based Reading & Writing: 480
Math: 530
Total Composite Score:
1-36 (average of four test scores)
 
Sections Score Range ACT College Readiness Benchmark
Reading 1-36 22
English 1-36 18
Mathematics 1-36 22
Science 1-36 23
ACT Writing 2-12  
 
 
Inside Scoop
You earn points on the SAT by answering questions correctly. NO points are deducted for wrong answers, -- there's NO advantage to leaving any blank.
 Scores are based on the number of correct answers. NO penalty for incorrect answers.
How long is it?
 SAT+ Writing: 3hrs and 50 min 
(Highly Recommended - UCs and Private universities require the SAT + writing)
 
SAT (no writing): 3hrs
 ACT+ Writing: 3hrs and 35 min 
(Highly Recommended - UCs and Private universities require the ACT + writing)
 
ACT (no writing): 2hrs 55min
What sections are included on the test and how is the test structured?
Section # of Questions Duration
Reading 52 65min
Writing & Language 44 35min
Math
58 80min
Writing 1 50min

Section # of Questions Duration
Reading 40 35min
English 75 45min
Math 60 60min
Science 40 35min
Writing 1 40min
What type of math is used on the exam?
Instead of testing you on every math topic there is, the SAT Math Test focuses on the topics you’re most likely to encounter in college and career. The three areas of focus for math in the SAT are
  • Heart of Algebra focuses on linear equations, systems of linear equations, and functions that are found in many fields of study.
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis include using ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning to solve problems in real-world situations.
  • Passport to Advanced Math focuses on the math you will need to pursue further study in a discipline such as science or economics and for career opportunities in the STEM fields.
In addition to the three areas listed above, the math section will also have problems that focus on key concepts from geometry and fundamental ideas of trigonometry.
 Eight reporting categories are addressed in the mathematics test.
  • Number & Quantity (7-10%) - Demonstrate knowledge of real and complex number systems.
  • Algebra (12-15%) - Solve, graph, and model multiple types of expressions including linear, polynomial, radical, and exponential relationships.
  • Functions (12-15%) - Test knowledge of function definition, notation, representations, and application including linear, radical, piecewise, polynomial, and logarithmic functions.
  • Geometry (12-15%) - Define and apply knowledge of shapes and solids, such as congruence and similarity relationships or surface area and volume measurements.
  • Statistics & Probability (8-12%) - Describe center and spread of distributions, apply and analyze data collection methods, understand and model relationships in bivariate data, and calculate probabilities. 
  • Integrating Essential Skills (40-45%) - These questions address concepts such as rates and percentages, proportional relationships, area, surface area, and volume; average and median; and expressing numbers in different ways. 
  • Modeling (>25%) - This category represents all questions that involve producing, interpreting, understanding, evaluation, and improving models. 
What is the cost?
SAT: $46
SAT + Writing: $60
 SAT (+ Writing) with Fee Waiver: $0
 
 **Fee Waivers are available for students who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program**
 ACT: $46
ACT + Essay: $62.50
ACT (+ Writing) with Fee Waiver: $0
 
 **Fee Waivers are available for students who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program**
What is different?
  • The SAT measures what students learn in high school and what they need to succeed in college.
  • The SAT provides everyday math formulas.
  • The SAT has free comprehensive test practice through Khan Academy.
  • The SAT provides 1min, 10 secs per question.
  • Fee Waivers can cover electronic late registration fees. 
  •  Designed to measure academic achievement in English, mathematics, reading, and science. 
  • Includes enhanced scoring for reliable college and career planning insights: STEM Score; ELA Score, Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator, and Text Complexity Progress Indicator. 
  • Fee Waivers do not cover late registration fees. 
What is different?
We recommend you to take the SAT in May or June of your 11th-grade year. If you do not like your scores you can always retake the exam. Seniors must take the SAT no later than December of their 12th-grade year. 
 
Students who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program get up to two fee waivers.
We recommend you to take the ACT in April or June of your 11th-grade year. If you do not like your scores you can always retake the exam. Seniors must take the ACT no later than December of their 12th-grade year. 
 
Students who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program get up to two fee waivers.
Where can I get more information?
PSAT and PSAT/NMSQT Free Resources
 
College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer students with free, personalized SAT practice. The program features:
  • Interactive problems
  • Video Lessons
  • Full-length practice tests
  • Personalized study plan
  • Instant SAT essay feedback
 
SAT Free Resources