One major similarity between the SAT and ACT is that both tests bring stress to college-bound high school students. While the tests have become somewhat interchangeable in terms of playing a part on the college application, the tests have different approaches in measuring college readiness. The ACT measures achievement related to high school curricula, while the SAT measures general verbal and quantitative reasoning. Although scores between the two tests cannot be equated, useful tools can help aid in comparing results.

## SAT Score Breakdown

The mostly multiple-choice SAT test is divided into three math, three critical reading and three writing sections. On this test, you earn one point for each correct answer, lose 1/4 point for each wrong answer and do not lose any points for questions left blank. To produce a final score ranging from 600 to 2,400 points -- yes it's true, you get points for your name -- three scaled scores of 200 to 800 are added together from each test section.

## ACT Score Breakdown

The ACT is a bit more consistent than the SAT. You can always count on the test sections appearing in the same order and there being the same number of questions in each portion (75 in English, 60 in math, 40 in reading, 40 in science). Determining an ACT composite score is simple: count the number of correct answers on each test and don't deduct any points for incorrect answers, this is your raw score. Look up your converted score for each section -- just look up a chart online or in a test booklet. Then, simply average the four test scores and round to the nearest whole number for your composite score ranging from 1 (low) to 36 (high). Round down for fractions less than .5 and up for those higher.

## Comparing Test Scores

In 2012, the national average ACT composite score was 21.1, according to the ACT-SAT Concordance chart. This roughly equals an SAT score ranging from 1,400 to 1,500. The national average on the SAT in 2012 was just below 1,500 points. A 1,500 on the SAT equates to a score between a 21 and 22 on the ACT. In terms of national averages, students tend to score similarly on both tests.