SAT and ACT Math

Uncategorized Aug 02, 2022

Levels of math

The vast majority of math on both the SAT and ACT consists of pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, geometry, and trigonometry. Any student who has learned these topics is ready to take the SAT or ACT. You do not need to take pre-calculus to do well on the math section of either test.


Differences between the tests


  • The SAT weighs math more heavily, counting it as 50% of your score, whereas the ACT counts it for 25% of your score.
  • The SAT is slower paced, while the ACT is a lot faster.
  • The SAT has a no calculator section and a calculator section, while the ACT allows the calculator on its one math section
  • The SAT has some free answer questions as well as multiple choice questions, and the ACT is 100% multiple choice.
  • The SAT gives students a reference sheet with some commonly used formulas facts (it does not have everything you will need), and the ACT does not.
  • The SAT has wordier questions that typically require more reading than the ACT does.



The tests cover math that’s learned over a number of years, so some of this math you learned years ago. It’s really common to forget a lot of basic math concepts, like adding and subtracting fractions. Reviewing is key to mastering the math sections. It’s also important to learn test taking strategies, practice on official tests, and review your mistakes so you know what you need to study.

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