How do I compare my SAT and ACT scores? How do I figure out which one I’m better at?

How do I compare my SAT and ACT scores? How do I figure out which one I’m better at?

Colleges use the SAT and the ACT in exactly the same way – they don’t prefer one test to the other – they just want you to submit the highest comparative score possible (in other words, if you have a 36 on the ACT, and a 1550 on the SAT, you shouldn’t even submit your SAT score – just submit the better score for the ACT instead!).

To figure out how colleges compare scores, there’s a handy rule of thumb: every ~40 points you lose on the SAT (out of 1600) is the same as losing 1 point on the ACT. So a 1600 is a 36, a 1560 is a 35, a 1520 is a 34, a 1480 is a 33, and so on and so forth! While this isn’t exactly correct, it’s more than close enough to help you figure out which test to take and how the scores compare.

If you want to figure out which test you’re best at as quickly as possible, you can read my full guide on the topic here:


New SAT Notice: The content on this page refers to the Old SAT. For the most comprehensive information on the new test, we suggest you read our Guide to the New SAT or our guide ‘New SAT vs ACT’.

Colleges use something called “the concordance table” to compare scores. You can find a link here:

SAT and ACT scores are compared using this chart, so a 2400 on the SAT is the same as a 36 on the ACT, and so on and so forth. You’ll notice that the scores they use on the chart are out of 1600 – this is because most colleges only factor the Critical Reading and Math sections into their admissions criteria.

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