SAT To ACT Conversion

August 28, 2023


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

How do you convert your SAT score to an ACT score, and why would you want to? Keep reading as we take you through the basics of SAT to ACT conversion. 

High school students who are beginning to think of applying to colleges will have to take either the SAT or ACT. The scores of both exams inform college admissions decisions and merit-based scholarships. While both tests cover similar content, the major difference between the two is how they are scored. 

While students may take both tests, that is not always practical. Money, time, or stress are all legitimate reasons not to take both tests, and thankfully, you don’t have to. Most colleges accept the SAT and the ACT, and it is a common myth that schools prefer one over the other. 

Continue reading as we share important information on SAT to ACT conversion to help you understand the conversion!

SAT To ACT Score Conversion Table

While the SAT is scored out of 1600, the ACT is scored out of 36. We put together a conversion table so you see how the exam results compare. 

As you go through the table, please note that these are just estimates of how you likely would have scored. The chart does not predict how you will perform on either test.

SAT to ACT conversion part 1
SAT to ACT conversion part 2

Many students may choose to take either the SAT or the ACT, though it is becoming increasingly common for aspiring college students to take both tests. 

However, it is beneficial for those who can only take one test to know how you would have scored on the other one they didn’t take. Converting scores can also give students an idea of how they rank amongst their peers.

SAT and ACT Breakdown

As mentioned before, colleges usually don’t have a preference for the SAT or ACT. So if you cannot take both tests, you should pick the test that will give you the optimal score. 

Neither test is necessarily more challenging than the other, but one test may be easier for certain students based on content

The SAT is broken down into multiple sections. The sections include:

The exam, along with breaks, is four hours long. 

The ACT consists of four mandatory sections and one optional section:

The ACT takes three hours and thirty minutes, including breaks. While the writing section is optional, some colleges require students to provide a score for this section. Check with your school to see their specific requirements. 

You can strategically decide which test is best for you based on content and structure. In doing so, you can spend more time studying for one specific exam rather than juggling preparation for the two.

How To Interpret SAT To ACT Conversion Table

The table estimates how you would perform on one test based on your scores from the other test. If you do well on your reading test on the SAT, it is likely you will also perform well on the ACT reading test, as both tests are fairly similar in difficulty and content.

Who Uses SAT To ACT Conversion Charts?

There are many people who use ACT to SAT conversion, or vice versa. College professors, student counselors, and students may use an SAT to ACT conversion chart to determine a student’s academic standing. 

Policymakers and researchers may also use the conversion chart to evaluate the overall academic performance of students from certain schools and areas. 

Of course, colleges and athletic recruitment committees can also use the SAT to ACT conversion chart to decide on eligibility for admissions and scholarships. 

If students are worried about spending the time and money to take both tests, they may use the conversion chart to determine whether they should take the other exam. For example, you will get a composite score of 34 on the ACT if you score 1500 on the SAT. As you are predicted to score high on the ACT, some students may think it is worth taking alongside the SAT.

FAQs: SAT To ACT Conversion

Still have questions about how your test scores convert? Keep reading as we answer frequently asked questions about SAT to ACT conversion below. 

1. What is a 32 on the ACT Equivalent to on the SAT?

A 32 on the ACT is about 1420-1440 on the SAT.  

2. What is a 20 on the ACT Equal to on the SAT?

A 20 on the ACT equals a score of 1030-1050 on the SAT. 

3. What is a 30 ACT Score on the SAT?

Receiving a 30 on the ACT means you would have scored in the range of 1360-1380 on the SAT.

4. What is a 1500 SAT on the ACT?

A 1500 SAT score converts to an ACT score of 34.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why people may only want to take either the SAT or the ACT. If you don’t want the extra stress of taking both exams, there is no need to worry! Most colleges don’t prefer either exam over the other, and both are pretty similar in content and expectations. 

If you need to calculate what you would have scored on the other, use the conversion chart.  

Best of luck in your future endeavors!

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