What You Need to Know About the ACT & SAT

By Arkansas Next on Friday, October 21, 2022

These tests are both used for college admissions and awarding merit-based scholarships, but they're very different. Here's the scoop:


Average score: 21 | Good score: 24 | Top 10% score: 28-36*
The ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes (add 40 minutes if taking the writing section). The test is entirely multiple choice with four sections: English, math, reading and science. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT; never leave answers blank. Learn more at act.org.


Average score: 1050 | Top 10% score: 1350+**
The SAT features a reading test (with an emphasis on vocabulary), a writing and language test, and a math test. It takes three hours and gives 43% more time per question than the ACT. There’s no penalty for guessing, so it's better to guess than leave a response blank. Learn more at collegeboard.org. 

*bestcolleges.com, **collegeboard.org

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Super Score

For students who have taken the ACT more than once, there is a unique process you can use to average your four best subject scores from all of your ACT test attempts to create what we know as your SuperScore. 

All students who have taken the ACT more than once from 2019 to the present day are eligible for acquiring your SuperScore. 

Put your best foot forward by combining your best testing performance for each subject in the ACT. Combining your score matters because it provides students all over the country with an equal chance at high-ranking scores. According to act.org, research shows the differences in test performance between groups of students with scores that didn’t change using SuperScore–showing that it does not put others at a disadvantage. 

For more information, visit act.org.