This Infographic Will Help You Choose the SAT or ACT

As you start looking at colleges where you can play your sport, you’ll want to pay attention to the kind of admissions requirements and minimum test scores that school asks for. And one of the most important hurdles is going to be providing a standardized test score.

But just which test will be best for you to become a college athlete: SAT or ACT?

Should you choose SAT or ACT for your college admissions?

To help you choose which test would be better for you, we’ve created this infographic to break down the differences in the SAT vs ACT.

If you’re looking for information personalized to your search for the right college opportunity, we can help. Get started today.

Check it out below:

sat or act infographic

Up next: learn more about how you can study for the new SAT



SAT or ACT? Do you know which test is right for you?

Colleges accept both tests equally, so the choice is up to you! here’s what you need to know to compare the exams.

Why take it?

Colleges use both SAT and ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships

Test structure

The SAT consists of math, reading, writing and language, and an optional essay writing sections. In addition, the ACT also has a science section.


Sat: 3 hours (without essay) or 3 hours, 50 minutes (with the essay)

ACT: 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay) or 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)


SAT: 5 reading passages
ACT: 4 reading passages


ACT only: 1 science section testing your critical thinking skills (as opposed to your knowledge of specific scientific concepts)


The SAT covers arithmetic, algebra I & II, geometry, trigonometry, and data analysis; the ACT covers everything except for data analysis.

Tools you can bring

Some sections of the SAT restrict the use of a calculator, but you can use a calculator on all math questions in the ACT.


The essay section is optional in both tests. In the SAT, it will test how well you comprehend a source text, whereas the ACT essay will test how well you evaluate and analyze complex issues.


There are specific scores required for any NCAA division level. (For the ACT, the NCAA adds section scores together into a sum score.)

Division I SAT or ACT score minimum: 400 or 37

Division II SAT or ACT score minimum: 820 or 68

Division III: No minimum requirement.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.