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American Uni Entrance Exams

Many American colleges and universities use the SAT or ACT test as a key part of their entrance criteria. Each exam has several sections of multiple choice questions and one optional essay. Most universities accept either exam and students who have sufficient time to prepare properly can take both exams and submit the one on which they perform better. As proven academics in the American education system our team can provide invaluable guidance to collegiate players in how to score well on either of these exams.

The substance of what is tested is essentially the same on both exams. The differences come with the style of question, scoring and format of the sections as highlighted below. Since COVID the SAT and ACT have become less important, with the college sport governing bodies making it no longer a requirement to be eligible to play however many schools still require it as part of admissions, therefore we would still recommend taking one if you have aspirations of attending a four year school as a freshman. Our signed student-athletes also have access to practice sat exams, helpful videos and tuition if required rom a trusted partner.

In recent years, the College Board, the organisation responsible for administering the SAT, have also introduced a new digital version of the exam. The digital SAT offers several advantages over the traditional paper-based version, including faster results, more testing dates, and online tools. For access to top tips, video resources, practice questions, exams and our network of specialist tutors sign up to the ATHLETES AREA of our site now!

Exam Formats

Test Format
Structure and timing SAT ACT
Testing time 2 hours
+50-minute essay (optional)
2 hours 55 minutes
+40-minute essay (optional)
Structure 3 tests + optional essay 4 tests + optional writing test
Number of questions 116 215
Time per question 1 minute 49 seconds
Score range Composite 400-1600 (SAT Essay: reported in 3 dimensions, each 2-8) Composite 1-36 (writing domain scores: 2-12)
Test components Reading Test
65 minutes
52 questions
Writing and Language Test
35 minutes
44 questions
Maths Test
80 minutes
58 questions
Reading Test
35 minutes
40 questions
English Test
45 minutes
75 questions
Maths Test
60 minutes
60 questions
Science Test
35 minutes
40 questions

There are typically five SAT exams per calendar year: October, December, March, May and August. Below you will find more information on the next available dates for the SAT, which is our recommended entrance exam choice:

SAT Exam

Anticipated SAT Dates

August 26, 2023

October 7, 2023

November 4, 2023

December 2, 2023

March 9, 2024


Additional Information

Test Length

Testing for the SAT takes place during a 3-hour time window with an additional 50-minute essay portion, which is optional. The sections are broken down into a Reading Test with 52 questions, a Writing and Language Test with 44 questions, and a Math Test with 58 questions.

Testing for the ACT takes place during roughly the same amount of time with an additional 40-minute essay portion made optional. The sections are broken down by a Reading Test with 40 questions, an English Test with 75 questions, a Math Test with 60 questions, and a Science Test with 40 questions.

Test Timing

With the SAT having a total of 154 multiple-choice questions and the ACT having 215, timing is worth considering for each of these major tests. Based on their individual time windows, this leaves 1 minute and 10 seconds for answering each question on the SAT. For the ACT, you’ll have about 49 seconds per question.


SAT scores are a composite ranging from 400–1600. Subscores and cross-test scores for the different sections can help you to best determine your strengths and weaknesses. There is no such thing as a passing score and colleges consider many other factors in addition to your SAT score when reviewing applicants.

For the ACT, scores are a composite ranging from 1–36. Writing domain scores for the optional essay portion are given on a scale of 2–12.

Neither test penalizes test takers for guessing because neither test penalizes for incorrect answers. This is why it’s always best to mark an answer, even if you’re unsure, rather than to leave it blank. Both the SAT and the ACT provide four score reports that can then be submitted alongside college applications.

As with all exams, preparation is crucial.  Some students choose to prepare themselves through self-study together with the official preparation books. However, some find that a course specifically tailored to these tests saves them time and effort by reviewing the substance for them and directing their studies appropriately. Whichever exam and whichever method you choose, make sure you know everything you can before you take it.

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