The ACT-SAT* Score Conversion & Information Supersite
If you took the SAT …
Enter your SAT composite score to get your ACT equivalent.
If you took the ACT …
Enter your ACT Composite Score and get your SAT equivalent.
The Tests to Take to Get into American Colleges
Welcome college counselors, admissions officers, parents, and high school students in the Class of 2022, Class of 2023, Class of 2024, and Class of 2025 to convertyourscore.org!
You’ve arrived at the world’s authoritative SAT-ACT conversion tool and information resource. Academically-oriented colleges in the United States require that students submit scores from one of two standardized tests – the SAT and the ACT – in order to be considered for admission. Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are important to such American colleges and universities because they are standardized – unlike high school grades and extracurricular activities, which will vary greatly from school to school and student to student. While there is much debate these days as to whether or not success on the SAT or ACT is a reliable predictor of how a student will perform during his or her freshman year of college, students can’t get wrapped up in the latest academic debates on the matter. For the foreseeable future colleges that prize academic excellence will continue to judge applicants and their perceived potential based on their scores on the SAT or ACT. If you want to have the most college options, you should plan to take the SAT and/or ACT and do well on at least one of them.
The good news is that all American colleges and universities that require submission of standardized test scores as a part of a student’s application will consider a student’s score on the SAT or ACT. Colleges look at your success on these tests as interchangeable – even though the tests assess your skills and knowledge quite differently. Thus, you need to be strategic about which tests to take and when to take them in order to ultimately submit to colleges your best scores.
Many students, depending on their particular strengths and weaknesses, will perform much better on one test or the other. Consequently, prepared students should study for both tests by purchasing and completing timed practice tests included in the latest editions of The Official SAT Study Guide and The Official ACT Prep Guide. Next, students should sign up for and take the SAT and ACT at least once each in order to gauge which test casts them in the best light.
How do the ACT and SAT Differ?
The SAT assesses students in the areas of Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (EBRW) and Math (M). There is also an optional essay in its own section. The ACT tests students in English (E), Math (M), Reading (R), and Science (S). On the ACT there is also an optional essay.
The ACT’s sections are broken down as follows:
- English: 75 questions/45 minutes
- Mathematics: 60 questions/60 minutes
- Reading: 40 questions/35 minutes
- Science: 40 questions/35 minutes
- Optional Writing: 1 essay prompt/40 minutes
The required sections of the ACT take 2 hours and 55 minutes. If you opt to take the optional Writing (essay) section, you will add an extra 40 minutes to the end of your test. The key concepts tested on each section of the ACT are as follows:
- English: Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills
- Mathematics: Pre-Algebra and Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra and Coordinate Geometry, and Plane Geometry and Triginometry
- Reading: Arts and Literature and Social Studies and Sciences
- Science: Data Representations, Research Summaries, and Conflicting Viewpoints
- Optional Writing: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions
The SAT’s four sections proceed as follows:
- Reading Test: 52 questions/65 minutes
- Writing and Language Test: 44 questions/35 minutes
- Math Test – No Calculator (Multiple Choice + Student Produced Response): 20 questions/25 minutes
- Math Test – Calculator Permitted (Multiple Choice + Student Produced Response): 38 questions/55 minutes
The four sections of the SAT take 3 hours to complete. The key concepts tested on each section of the SAT are:
- Reading Test: Command of Evidence, Words in Context, and Analysis of Social Studies/Science
- Writing and Language Test: Same as Reading Test + Expression of Ideas and Standard English Conventions
- Math Test – No Calculator (Multiple Choice + Student Produced Response): Linear Equations and Systems, Quantitative Skills, and some Geometry and Trigonometry
- Math Test – Calculator Permitted (Multiple Choice + Student Produced Response): Same as first Math Test + Manipulation of Complex Equations
How the ACT and SAT are Scored Today
On both the SAT and ACT there is a difference between raw points earned versus scaled points earned. Basically, raw points are earned for correct answers. On both tests no raw points are deducted for multiple choice questions answered incorrectly or left blank.
Yet, the testing agencies responsible for the SAT and ACT hardly make things simple because they don’t report to you your raw score (at least not directly in top-level summaries available on score reports). Instead they put your raw scores in the oven – they cook them! Instead of calling your final scores on these tests your cooked scores, they call them your scaled scores. Receiving cooked scores probably would rub people the wrong way. Go figure. Yet, how the SAT and ACT cook their scores is completely different. The SAT inflates and the ACT deflates.
The lowest score one can earn on each of the three sections of the SAT is 200. To earn a 200 on one section of the SAT would mean that you answered no questions right and a lot of questions wrong. Thus, 200 is a very rare score to get on any section of the SAT. A 200 still sounds better than 0 to the man on the street, so congrats if you get a 200. Thus, the lowest potential combined score one can get on the two main sections of the SAT is a 400.
Alternatively, if you get every SAT question right (or nearly every question on some test administration dates), you can earn as high as 800 points on each section. Thus, the highest combined score one can earn on the SAT is 1600. Now that’s hot stuff!
The average scores for Americans taking the test come in at just above or below 500 per section depending on the year or exact test date of administration.
Meanwhile, the ACT has a scaled score that looks completely different, first because there are more sections, and second because when you go out to lunch with someone you don’t just want to rattle off the sum of your section scores like you would with the SAT. Remember, if somebody earned a 630 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and 700 Math on the SAT, they would most likely be overheard saying something like, “So, guess what? I just found out that I got a 1330 on the SAT! Can you believe how awesome I am?” When referring colloquially to your greatness as it relates to your ACT score, you speak a bit differently. You share your average score of all the sections that make up the test. This score is referred to as your composite score. The highest composite score one can earn on the ACT is a 36, while the lowest composite score one can theoretically get on the ACT is a 1. So, again, assuming you are out with a friend after checking your scores online, you would say something like, “Oh my gosh! I just logged in and I got a 30!” For the student in this example to get a 30 means that he or she got section scores that averaged out to 30. So, for instance, he or she may have gotten a 29 on the English section a 33 on the Math section, a 28 on the Reading section, and a 31 on the Science section.
29+33+28+31 = 121 / 4 = 30.25
Please note from the example above that ACT will only round up to the next highest round number starting at X.50; therefore, a score of 30.25 is reported as a 30.
What About My Essay/Writing Score?
Note that in the above example we have not mentioned the student’s ACT Writing score, which on the ACT is synonymous with a test taker’s essay score. This is because a student’s Writing (essay) score does not affect his or her composite score in any way.
The ACT has two readers review your essays, and each reader gives your essay a score between 1 and 6 for four distinct domains: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions. Thus, your Writing (essay) score on the ACT is the average of these scores. The full ACT essay-scoring rubric is available here.
Why this Site is Valuable
The scores that matter to most to ALL colleges when comparing how you did on one test versus how you did on the other test are the scores that this site asks you to report and convert above.
First, colleges are comparing your SAT composite (EBRW + M) score to your ACT composite (E + M + R + S) score.
Comparing your SAT and ACT scores is incredibly frustrating if you don’t do it the right way. The above conversion calculators are valuable because they help you see things from the perspective of college admissions officers as they review test scores from students. Your job as a student is to put your best foot forward on your college application. This site helps you do just that by allowing you to gauge which test is your best test.
Not Ever Going to Be a Fan of Standardized Tests?
The number of colleges that don’t require the SAT or ACT is growing as more colleges acknowledge that a student is more than a score and that by removing testing requirements colleges often get a bump in application numbers. During Spring 2020 in particular, many colleges fretted over plunges in future application numbers in response to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic and the global economic depression that resulted from governments around the world forcibly destroying their economies. Many colleges, looking at their financial situations, wagered that lowering admissions standards would prevent demand from plunging too far too fast. They were right, and in some cases application numbers increased so much that colleges decided to maintain test-optional admissions policies indefinitely.
Yet, remember, just because a college doesn’t require applicants to submit their SAT or ACT score in order to considered for admission does not mean that such a college won’t strongly consider your scores if you do choose to submit them. For instance, you can bet the farm that if you choose to apply Early Decision to University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2021 and as part of your application you submit an ACT score of 35, that 35 will help your chances of getting into Penn.
Always check directly with the colleges on your list before applying to make sure you understand their most up to date admissions policies fully.