The corresponding percentile of each scaled score varies from test to test—for example, in 2003, a scaled score of 800 in both sections of the SAT Reasoning Test corresponded to a percentile of , while a scaled score of 800 in the SAT Physics Test corresponded to the 94th percentile. The differences in what scores mean with regard to percentiles are due to the content of the exam and the caliber of students choosing to take each exam. Subject Tests are subject to intensive study (often in the form of an AP , which is relatively more difficult), and only those who know they will perform well tend to take these tests, creating a skewed distribution of scores.
The best way to decide if the SAT or ACT is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test in each. Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit. For example, the pace of the SAT gives you a tad more time to think through problems, while the ACT can be more of a time crunch. Some students really thrive under the pressure of the clock, while others prefer the extra time to ponder a question. Try our QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both? to learn more.