One of the questions we most commonly hear from students who have taken either the PSAT, the SAT, or the ACT (or even just a practice test for one of these tests) is “what would my score be on the [other test]?” I.e. How do I do an ACT to SAT conversion?
To answer this question, you’ll need to convert your score.
We’ll take a look at why you would want to perform an ACT to SAT conversion, how to do it, and what you can do with your converted scores when you are looking at prospective colleges.
For a bigger picture of how to approach test prep, read How to Conquer the ACT (for Parents).
Why Would You Want To Convert Between SAT and ACT Scores?
People have various reasons for wanting to know how they would do on the “opposite test.” They generally boil down to a variation on one of these three (closely related) reasons:
1. You are thinking about taking the other test and you want to know how you would need to score for it to be worth it
2. You have already taken both tests (or practice tests) and you want to know which of your scores is better
3. You have specific colleges in mind and you want to know how your score on one test matches up with their score range on the other test
Regardless of which of these reasons applies to you, figuring out ACT to SAT conversion will probably be most useful if you are still at the practice test / preparation stage of your admissions test journey. This way you can use the information you discover to help guide you in the process.
Convert SAT Scores to ACT scores, and vice versa.
Using an the score conversion tool below, you can get an apples-to-apples comparison of test performance.
SAT to ACT Conversion Tables
If you’d like to convert an SAT score to an ACT score, use the following table (by the way, throughout this article, we are referring to the “new” SAT on the 1600 scale simply as the “SAT,” and we will refer to the old, 2400-scale SAT as the “old SAT”). If you’d like to do an ACT to SAT conversion, we have another table further down. This table was created by the College Board without the participation of the ACT, but it is likely to be pretty accurate.
Simply find your SAT score, and match it up with the converted ACT score one column to the right, in the same row.
|New SAT||ACT||New SAT||ACT||New SAT||ACT|
ACT to SAT Conversion
If you have a score from an ACT test date that you’d like to convert to an SAT score, you can use the following table to do an ACT to SAT conversion, also from the College Board. Find your ACT score, then match it up with the SAT score one column to the right, in the same row.
|ACT||New SAT||ACT||New SAT||ACT||New SAT|
What About Colleges That Haven’t Published “New” SAT Score Ranges Yet?
If you’re at the point in your college search where you’re looking at the score ranges for students admitted at various colleges, you may have noticed that many colleges have not yet released any information regarding 1600-scale SAT scores, as this “new” test was released in Spring of 2016. Therefore, to do an ACT to SAT conversion, you may want to convert your SAT or ACT score to an “old” 2400-scale SAT score to compare against college figures.
You can convert your ACT score to an “old” SAT score using the following table, published by the ACT:
|ACT Composite Score||Estimated SAT Composite||Estimated SAT Composite Range|
If you’d like to convert your SAT score on the 1600-scale to an “old” SAT score on the 2400-scale, you can use this table, published by the College Board:
|New SAT||Old SAT||New SAT||Old SAT||New SAT||Old SAT|
How To Convert Between SAT and ACT Scores
As we wrote in the introduction, you can’t determine exactly how you’d do on the SAT if you took the ACT, or the ACT if you took the SAT.
So, what can you do?
You can use conversion data from the makers of the SAT and the ACT to do an ACT to SAT conversion to determine how your score would rank if it were converted to a score on the opposite test.
These test publishers collect massive amounts of data regarding the scores of hundreds, thousands, millions of students on their respective admissions tests. They break all of these scores into percentiles, which show how many students score each different possible score.
You’ve probably seen this before – if you score 1190 on the SAT, for example, this is a 71st percentile score. That means 71% of all students who take the SAT scored less than 1190, and 29% scored higher. The ACT releases percentile charts showing the same breakdown of information for their test.
The College Board takes these calculations a step further, and produces a series of tables called “concordance tables,” which are designed for ACT to SAT conversion and vice versa. It is a tiny bit complicated, but they basically compare scores that would be at the same percentile on both tests, so you know that if you scored at, say, the 80th percentile on the SAT, you can see which score would put you at the same percentile on the ACT, and that is your “converted” score.
As we have already said, these tables are not designed to show exactly how any individual student would do applying their personal skills to both tests, because we can’t really know based on your score on one test whether or not you might naturally be more suited to performing better or worse on the other test.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Now that you’ve converted your score from ACT to SAT, or from SAT to ACT, or from ACT to “old” SAT, or from – well, you get the picture – what do you do with the information? There is no need to convert your scores if it doesn’t lead to a decision as to what kind of action to take.
The main decision you are likely to make is whether or not to take the test you have not yet taken. You may decide, for example, after an ACT SAT conversion, that you could actually score higher on the ACT than your converted score. In this case, your first step should probably be to take a practice test or seek advice about proceeding with prep for the new test.
On the other hand, after seeing your converted scores, you may not believe that you could do better on the test you haven’t taken, but decide that your current scores aren’t as competitive as you’d like them to be. In this case, you’ll want to look into your options for improving your score on the test to which you have already devoted your energy.