SAT and ACT Updates Due to COVID-19

SAT ACT updates

IMPORTANT: Updated as of May 11, 2020

Please be aware that there are new SAT and ACT updates regarding test dates in New York State due to the evolving COVID-10 pandemic. Therefore, all dates are subject to change based on environmental circumstances and decisions made by the Department of Education. See below for new dates and revisions. This includes changes only made in New York State.

SAT

May 2, 2020 – CANCELLED 

May 28, 2020 (Reschedule Date for March 14)- CANCELLED

June 6, 2020- CANCELLED 

ACT 

April 4, 2020- RESCHEDULED to June 13, 2020

Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

The SAT and ACT tend to be the two of the scariest 3-acronym phrases to most high school students. These forms of standardized testing exams are often used by colleges to determine how “prepared” a student is for college. All colleges accept and value both exams exactly the same. However, many have prioritized the SAT over the ACT for so long because of its popularity. Oftentimes, these exams help your application stand out to admission officers; if your GPA isn’t too high, a high SAT/ ACT score can “even” that out. Even more so, it is used by many colleges to determine how to distribute scholarship money in thousands of dollars.

The differences

TopicSATACT
RegistrationRegistration is done through the College Board website or fill out and mail in the appropriate form.  Registration is done through the ACT website online.
Length3 hours (without essay)3 hours + 50 minutes (with essay)2 hours + 55 minutes (without essay)3 hours + 40 minutes (with essay)
TopicsReading: 65 minutes- 52 questions
Writing: 35 minutes- 44 questions
Math: 80 minutes- 58 questionsNo Calc- 25 minutes 20 questions
Calc- 55 minutes- 38 questionsEssay: 50 minutes (including 650-750 word reading article)
English: 45 minutes- 75 questions
Reading: 35minutes- 40 questions
Science: 35 minutes- 40 questionsMath: 60 minutes- 60 questionsEssay: 40 minutes (including reading article with 3 stances on a topic)
EssayThis type of essay analyzes the article and explains how the author explains his/her argument. The essay is optional, but recommended as some schools require this)This type of essay allows you to take a stance on the given article- whether you agree or disagree with the author. The essay is optional, but recommended as some schools require this.
Calculator UseThere are 2 sections, one in which you do not use any calculator, and one where you may use an approved calculator. Students are allowed to use an approved calculator on all math questions of the exam. 
Cost$57.50 without Essay$64.50 with Essay$50.50 without Writing$67.00 with Writing
ScoreTotal score ranges from 400-1600The composite score ranges from 1-36.

Test dates

Due to COVID-19, test dates and registration deadlines are changing every day. The Gooroo team will be providing SAT and ACT updates for test dates below to keep you in the loop.

Test Date Registration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline Online Score Release 
May 2, 2020 (SAT)CANCELED CANCELED CANCELED 
May 28, 2020 (SAT)CANCELED CANCELED CANCELED 
June 6, 2020 (SAT)CANCELED CANCELED CANCELED 
June 13, 2020 (ACT)May 8, 2020May 22, 2020***June 23, 2020
July 18, 2020 (ACT)**June 19, 2020 June 26, 2020July 28, 2020
August 29, 2020 (SAT)TBDTBDTBD
September 26, 2020 (SAT)*TBDTBDTBD
October 3, 2020 (SAT)TBDTBDTBD
*Regular SAT only (no SAT Subject Tests offered)
**No tests scheduled in New York for this date
***Late fees waived

Timing/ Difficulty

Though the ACT generally has more elementary questions than the SAT, it is extremely important to keep in mind that it is more fast-paced. The SAT gives more time to complete each section, but each question requires more time to complete, which makes sense, since it is more inquiry based. The ACT, on the other hand, requires you to finish each section in a more limited amount of time. Based on this, you can choose which exam is best for you and take advantage of your options!

SectionSATACT
Reading75 seconds/question53 seconds/question
ACT English/SAT Writing48 seconds/question36 seconds/question
MathNo Calculator: 75 seconds/questionCalculator: 87 seconds/question60 seconds/question
ScienceN/A53 seconds/question

Scoring

The SAT and ACT have both changed drastically over the past few years. As of December 2019, the ACT is out of 36 and the SAT is out of 1600. Your score on the ACT is comprised of your average on the 4 multiple-choice sections. On the other hand, your SAT score is the sum of your Math and English scores- each out of 800. The essay portions of both these exams are a separate grade. For the ACT, it is out of 9, and for the SAT, it is out of 12, based on the type of scoring for each section.

Here’s an approximate score equivalence chart to compare between the ACT and SAT:

ACT COMPSAT TOTALSAT RANGE 
3615901570-1600
3515401530-1560
3415001490-1520
3314601450-1480
3214301420-1440
3214001390-1410
3013701360-1380
2913401330-1350
2813101300-1320
2712801260-1290
2612401230-1250
2512101200-1220
2411801160-1190
2311401130-1150
2211101100-1120
2110801060-1090
2010401030-1050
191010990-1020
18970960-980
17930920-950
16880880-910
15850830-870
14800780-820
13760730-770
12710690-720
11670650-680
10630620-640
9590590-610

So, how do I decide which test to take?

To be sure which type of test is better for you, your best bet would be to take a full-length diagnostic exam of both the SAT and ACT, both of which can be found on their respective websites, and analyze your results. Furthermore, see how many you got right, which type of questions you got wrong, how long it took you, and how you generally feel afterward. Based on all these evaluations, you will be able to play to your strengths. Additionally, some also opt to take both exams multiple times so he/she is able to pick and choose scores to send to colleges.

All things considered, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the different SAT and ACT Updates as a student. If you get stuck, you can always reach out to get tutored by a Gooroo.

About the Author

Eshka-Ne Kumar

Eshka-Ne Kumar

Eshka is a Growth Strategist at Gooroo, a tutoring membership and online learning platform that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.