A Comparison: New SAT and ACT

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school and follows high school curricula closely. The new SAT is an evidence-based test, and focuses on synthesis and analysis.
  • The ACT has five components: English, mathematics, reading, science and an optional writing test. The SAT has three scoring components: evidenced based reading and writing, mathematics and an optional essay.
  • Both the ACT and new SAT are scored based on the number of correct answers, with no penalty for guessing.
  • The ACT and new SAT math section tests basic Geometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry, however the SAT requires that you test one portion of the math without use of a calculator.
  • The ACT contains only multiple choice questions, while the SAT’s math section requires students to generate their own response for certain questions.
  • The ACT covers science and scientific reasoning; the SAT does not.
  • The ACT and new SAT both test knowledge of sentence structure and grammar.
  • The SAT is 3 hours plus 50 minutes for the optional essay; the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes plus 40 minutes for the optional essay.
  • The ACT essay is an exercise in argumentative writing. The new SAT essay requires students to produce a written analysis of a provided text.
Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.