Exam Structure (Math Section)
|Time||80 mins||60 mins|
|Number of Questions||58 questions||60 questions|
Here are the five major differences:
2. No Calculator Math Subsection
3. Question Categories
4. Number of Answer Options
5. Student response/Grid-In Math Questions
Difference #1: Formulae
The math segment for the SAT is more challenging than the ACT. One of the benefits of SAT is that few formulae are given in the Question booklet. The same can be said about ACT.
SAT Formulae for the reference:
Difference #2: No Calculator Math Subsection
Difference #3: Question Categories
Algebra is given higher weightage in both ACT and SAT. However there are some miscellaneous topics which are not covered in SAT exam and vice versa.
The ACT focus on geometry is (35-45%) compared to geometry in SAT is only 10%. In addition, trigonometry accounts for about 7% in the ACT but less than 5% in the SAT.
If you’re skills are sharper with algebra and data analysis, you’ll probably do well at the SAT. But if you’re good in trigonometry and geometry, the ACT is a better option.
Difference #4: Number of Answer Options
Answer options provided in both the tests varies. Although in both SAT and ACT Math sections have multiple choice questions, ACT Math gives you five viable solution picks (A-E or F-K) for every question, whereas SAT Math offers you only four (A-D).
If you want to guess on certain Math questions, beware the SAT offers a very slight advantage over the ACT, with a 5 percentage better opportunity of having a question correct.
Difference #5: Student response/Grid-In Math Questions
Grid-ins account for 22% of SAT Math, or 13 total questions across the No Calculator (5 grid-ins) and Calculator (8 grid-ins) subsections. By contrast, ACT Math only has multiple-choice questions.
Lastly if you are not comfortable with math questions that don’t provide you any answer alternatives, the ACT is the superior choice.
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Blog Writer (Vishal Kshirsagar, Quant Trainer @ AURA)