Getting support for your IB Diploma course selection

A short overview

SAT and ACT are both tests used for admission to US universities and colleges.

  • If you are not going to study in the USA, then you do not need to do one of these tests.
  • If you are going to study in the USA, then you can check the following website that gives an updated list of SAT/ACT optional universities and colleges.   SAT/ACT Optional units

If in doubt, email the University/College and ask.

  • If your University/College does not require SAT/ACT, then you do not need to test.

SAT is scored between 400-1600 and ACT 1-36. Both are multiple choice-based tests except for the optional essay writing section.

Introducing the SAT Tests

There are two types of SAT Test

  • SAT Reasoning Test (formerly called SAT 1).  Multiple choice sections on Math and English followed by an optional essay.
  • SAT Subject Tests (formerly called SAT 2).

Subjects available:

  • Math: Level 1 and Level 2
  • Science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • English (Literature)
  • History: US History, World History
  • Languages: Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Modern Hebrew, Latin, Japanese and Korean

N.B Not all SAT Subject tests are available on every test date and at every test center

Which SAT subject tests should I take?

The SAT Subject Tests that you take should be based on your interests and academic strengths. The tests are a good way to show colleges your interest in specific majors or programs of study (e.g., engineering, pre-med. etc. ), and to highlight your strong points. Play to your strengths!

SAT Test dates 2021-22

August 28th, October 2nd, November 6th, December 4th, March 12th , May 7th, June 4th

  • No SAT Subject tests on March 12th, 2022.
  • Not all Test centers will offer all SAT Subject Tests on any given test date.
  • Registration deadlines are approximately 3-4 weeks before the test date.

Details here SAT Registration deadlines

SAT Preparation

More details about the SAT Tests

Test Content
Reading Test 52 questions 65 minutes Measures ability to understand written text
Mathematics 58 questions 80 minutes Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12 – problem solving, data analysis and equations
Writing and Language Test 44 questions 35 minutes Measures the interpretation, analysis and  evaluation of a text
Optional Writing Test– Essay 50 minutes Explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Support your explanation with evidence from the passage.

Introducing the ACT Test

The ACT test is a test of English, Math and Science. It is multiple choice except for the optional writing test

ACT Test dates 

  • Normally 7 per year – September, October, December, February, April, June, July
  • Dates not available for 2021-22

Register for ACT

ACT registrration


  • ACT (No Writing Test)   $55
  • ACT with writing $70

ACT Test prep

Online course plus Test prep books

ACT Test Prep books

ACT  Test

Test Content
English 75 questions 45 minutes Measures standard written English and rhetorical skills.
Mathematics 60 questions 60 minutes Measures mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12.
Reading 40 questions 35 minutes Measures reading comprehension.
Science 40 questions 35 minutes Measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences.
Optional Writing Test 1 prompt 40 minutes Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.


SAT and ACT  Tests… a comparison

When is it offered? August, October, November, December, March, May, June September, October, December, February, April, June, July
What is the test structure? 3 tests + optional essay 4 tests + optional writing test
Timing of Test 3 hours + 50 min essay (optional) 2 hours 55 mins + 45-minute essay (optional)
Scoring 400–1600. (Essay scored separately) 1-36
Test sections and timing

Reading Test

65 minutes

Writing and Language Test

35 minutes

Math Test

80 minutes

Reading Test

35 minutes

English Test

45 minutes

Math Test

60 minutes

Science Test

35 minutes

Are scores sent to colleges? You choose which scores to send You choose which scores to send
Website to register for test