Four-year colleges and universities may require the SAT or ACT for admission.  Many colleges are now test optional!  SAT and ACT are accepted interchangeably at most colleges and universities… one test is not better than the other! It’s best to take both exams to see which results in a higher score.

Learn more about the SAT & Register for the SAT

Learn more about the ACT & Register for the ACT

Fees are required to take the SAT and ACT exams. However, fee waivers are available to students who qualify.  Please make note of dates and deadlines for each exam as late fees apply when registering late.

Many colleges are now SAT/ACT Test Optional! View the list of colleges that are waiving the SAT/ACT testing. These colleges may or may not consider submitted scores when considering students for admission. Always check with the colleges you are interested in applying to regarding any testing requirements.

Compare the SAT and ACT Exams

Why Take It Colleges use SAT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships. Colleges use ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.
Test Structure
  • Reading
  • Writing & Language
  • Math
  • Essay (Optional)
  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science Reasoning

Essay (Optional)

  • 3 hours (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
  • 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
Reading 5 reading passages 4 reading passages
Science None 1 science section testing your critical thinking skills (not your specific science knowledge)
Math Covers:

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry, Trigonometry, and Probability & Statistics
Calculator Policy Some math questions don’t allow you to use a calculator. You can use a calculator on all math questions.
Essays Optional. The essay will test your comprehension of a source text. Optional. The essay will test how well you evaluate and analyze complex issues.

Preparing for the SAT/ACT

Khan Academy offers FREE Online SAT Prep — A personalized and interactive online test prep that offers full length practice tests with feedback

ACT Online Prep — An online resource to help students prepare to take the ACT test, featuring real questions from previous tests

LA Public Library offers FREE Online SAT/ACT Prep — Have LAPL Card Number with PIN available — FREE online SAT and ACT practice exams

Additional SAT/ACT Prep Options:

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