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Which Test is Right for You: SAT vs ACT

Playing college sports is a great opportunity and academics plays an important role in getting to the next level. While determining what NCAA eligibility requirements you need to meet, you have noticed the option of submitting test scores from either the SAT or ACT. Today we will explain the differences between the two tests, and hopefully give you some direction on which test is right for you!


Colleges accept both the SAT and the ACT for admission and merit-based scholarships.


SAT - 7 Times each year (March or April/May/June/August/October/November/December)

ACT - 7 Times each year (February/April/June/July/September/October/December)


SAT - $52

ACT - $55


SAT - Math/Reading/Writing & Language

ACT - Math/Reading/English/Science


SAT - 3 hours

ACT - 2 hours, 55 minutes


SAT - 154

ACT - 215


SAT - Arithmetic/Algebra I & II/Geometry/Trigonometry/Data Analysis

(Calculator not allowed on all questions)

ACT - Arithmetic/Algebra I & II/Geometry/Trigonometry

(Calculator allowed on all questions)


SAT - 5 reading passages

ACT - 4 reading passages


SAT - None

ACT - 1 section testing critical thinking


SAT - 400 to 1600

ACT - 1 to 36

The NCAA uses an ACT sum score that can be between 37-144. The ACT sum score is a combination of English, Mathematics, reading, and science subjects.


Division III - no minimum requirement

Division III - No minimum requirement



While both the SAT and ACT are nationally accepted, some states require high school students to take the ACT or SAT. In these cases, it is best that you take whichever test is required for you state, and avoid studying for both tests.

Here are a list of states/regions that require the SAT:

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • District of Columbia

  • Illinois

  • Maine

  • Michigan

  • New Hampshire

  • Rhode Island

  • West Virginia

These states require the ACT:

  • Alabama

  • Hawaii

  • Kentucky

  • Mississippi

  • Montana

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • North Carolina

  • Utah

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming



If you are still undecided on which test is best for you, take this short quiz to help you make an informed choice. Check whether you agree or disagree with each statement listed below.

  1. I struggle with geometry & trigonometry.

  2. I am good at solving math problems without a calculator.

  3. Science is not my forte.

  4. It’s easier for me to analyze something than to explain my opinion.

  5. I normally do well on math tests.

  6. I can’t recall math formulas easily.

  7. I like coming up with my own answers for math questions.

  8. Tight time constraints stress me out.

  9. I can easily find evidence to back up my answers.

  10. Chronologically arranged questions are easier to follow.

Count how many answers you agreed with to find out what your score means.

6+ Agrees - Take the SAT

The SAT will give you more time for each question, won’t include a science section, and has fewer geometry questions.

4-5 Agrees - Take the SAT or ACT

You will be comfortable taking either tests, but we suggest you take official SAT and ACT practice tests, to see which one you prefer.

<4 Agrees - Take the SAT

The ACT provides multiple choice answers to all math problems, as well as the use of a calculator. The science section is helpful for those intending to study in a similar field.


Now that you are familiar with the SAT and the ACT, you should Schedule a Free Assessment to begin your recruiting process.

If you have already begun the recruiting process, be sure to increase your efforts through our Recruitment Services.


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