The SAT and ACT are both scored by converting a raw score (the number of questions you got correct on your test) to a scaled score (a consistent ranking of scores which allow every one of those tests to be compared to each other). That’s where a lot of the similarity stops, unfortunately. A perfect composite score on the SAT is a 1600, but a perfect composite score on the ACT is a 36.
If the SAT and ACT scaled scores are completely unrelated numerically, how can you convert an SAT score to an equivalent ACT score? Fortunately, the College Board itself releases a SAT to ACT Conversion chart every year.
One of the key details when you’re thinking about SAT vs ACT is understanding how the scoring system and the scores themselves on each of the tests relate so you can see how well you’re performing on one of them over the other.
When you’re first starting prep in tenth or eleventh grade and faced with choosing between the ACT and SAT, most people will do a diagnostic test on both and then compare the outcomes.
Naturally, later on down the line, when you’re competing with other students in your region, with those applying to the same university you are, or even if you want to know how your scores compare simply with the averages at your high school, you’ll also need a SAT to ACT conversion chart.
Since the College Board is committed to its scaled score representing a score range–and because the ACT only has 36 increments on its scoring scale–the College Board releases both a SAT to ACT conversion score range and a suggested specific equivalent score for when you really need to zero in on only one score.
You’ll notice on the SAT to ACT Conversion chart below that an increase of one point on the scaled score on the ACT equates to an increase of thirty to forty points on the SAT scaled score. Remember, these are scaled scores represented on this chart; getting one additional question correct on an ACT sub-test is not the same as forty scaled SAT points.
You’ll find both represented in the chart below.
|SAT Range||Official SAT Equivalent Score||ACT|
For a discussion about the differences between the SAT and the ACT, check out my article comparing the two in SAT vs ACT.
For those who have yet to take the test and are feeling lost when it comes to even preparing for the tests, find out more about the best SAT prep courses, as well as ACT test prep via The Princeton Review, ACT Online, Kaplan, and others.