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Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

This test is administered by the college board and the current pattern was revised in 2016. The SAT test is designed to test the reading and mathematical ability of the students to suit their future course of study in the USA.

The SAT is scored on a 1600 point scale with Reading and Mathematics sections scored between 200-800 range. An optional essay is evaluated separately by 2 people and marked on a scale of 1-4.

SAT Structure

  Sections Questions Score Range
Evidence Based Reading and Writing 65 minute Reading Section 52 Questions (Reading)



35 minute Writing & Language Section 44 Questions ( Writing and Language
Mathematics 25 minute no calculator section 20 Questions ( No Calculator)



55 minute Calculator Section 38 Questions (Calculator)


The Reading Test

The Reading Test within the Evidence Based Reading and Writing Section comprises of 52 Questions as multiple choice and based on passages and some paired with tables, graphs, charts. You get 65 minutes for this section.

The Writing Language Test

The Writing Language Test with the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section comprises of 44 Questions which need to be answered within 35 minutes. This mainly tests your skills in interpreting a graphic by possibly spotting a sentence that misrepresents the graphic or explains the importance of the data better.

This test is mainly aimed at measuring Command of Evidence, Expression of Ideas, Words in Context and Standard of English Conventions.

The Mathematics Test

The 25 minute No Calculator section consisting 20 questions and 55 minute Calculator section consisting 38 questions are mostly multiple choice but some ask you to come up with an answer.

The test focuses on wide range of topics that are likely to be used practically in the courses you choose. Example: Algebra, Data Analysis, Problem Solving, Geometry and Trigonometry and checks your preparedness for future college study.

The SAT Essay

Usually scored by 2 or more people and scores are averaged. The essay measures your reading ability, Analysis and Writing

Some colleges may ask for SAT –II – Subject Tests. These are designed to test student’s knowledge in a specific subject area. Usually one can take 3 SAT-II Subject test on any one date. These are one hour long multiple choice tests.

No negative marking.

American College Testing (ACT)

Both ACT and SAT are equally accepted by American institutions for college admissions. The test is available in India once every 3 months between April to December each year.

ACT exam Structure

It consists of 4 sections- English, Mathematics, Reading and Science.

English 45 minutes, 75 Questions Tests Grammar and Rhetorical Skills
Mathematics 60 minutes, 60 questions Multiple choice questions on Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry
Reading 35 minutes, 40 questions Multiple choice questions based on 4 passages (Prose/ Fiction, Social Science, Humanities and Natural Science). Tests your reading comprehension skills
Science 35 minutes, 40 questions Multiple choice questions to test your data interpretation skills, consists of 7 passages


ACT Scoring

One point is awarded for each correct answer and there is no negative marking for wrong or omitted questions. The total of these points is called the raw score which is then converted into a scaled score which ranges between 1-36.

The average (rounded to nearest whole number) of all 4 scaled scores- English, Mathematics, Reading and Science is the final ACT score obtained by the student.

Writing test score is on a score rage of 1 -6 and assessed holistically by 2 readers. The two scores are then added together to arrive at a final score out of possible maximum score of 12.

The ACT score report includes each of the four test scores and all associated sub-scores calculated separately.

Difference between SAT and ACT

ACT does not test vocabulary and consists of a Science section which the SAT does not have. ACT though a shorter test it emphasises on speed and has more advanced maths than SAT but not as tricky as SAT.

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