SAT / ACT Test
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What are the SAT and the ACT Test?
The American College Testing (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) are two tests taken by students looking to enroll or gain admission to colleges in the United States.
The ACT and the SAT give universities and colleges a guide to match students they think would be a good fit for their institute. So, by taking these tests and passing them with good scores, you are eligible to take college-level courses.
Generally speaking, the ACT and the SAT have no significant differences, as both require quite a similar time to complete. They aim to cover the same areas, including problem-solving, mathematics, reading, writing, and comprehension.
What is the Difference Between the SAT and the ACT?
From a critical viewpoint, the time difference in every section of the paper is different for both tests. The SAT gives the student more time to answer each question for all test sections. On the other hand, the ACT has a relatively stricter time limit. Moreover, the ACT comes with more questions, but that doesn’t mean the SAT is any easier. The latter requires the candidate to read more lengthy paragraphs in reading and problem-solving.
Scoring: The scores range is also different between the SAT and the ACT. This range averages 1 to 36 for the ACT and 200 to 400 for the SAT, totaling from 400 to 1600.
Math and Science: The ACT has a unique science section, which is not in the SAT. On the other hand, the SAT comes with two math sections, one calculable on a calculator and one that requires a calculator.
What’s more, math sections also stand out. The ACT focuses a lot on trigonometry and geometry, while the SAT majorly focuses on algebra. Moreover, the ACT allows the candidate to use a calculator for all math questions.
Some reference guide the SAT provides for different mathematical formulae and diagrams. On the other hand, the ACT does not come with any reference. However, the SAT math section makes up about 50% of the total score. On the other hand, the ACT has a math section that only makes up a quarter of the entire test score.
Composition of Questions: The SAT comes with a sub-section of reading which requires you to answer evidence-support questions. All questions are enlisted in chronological order with reference to the text. However, the ACT does not include any subsections. Instead, the questions are listed in random order corresponding with the reference paragraph.
Optional Writing: Every test requires a different approach to each inquiry. For example, you will have a writing prompt where you would need to dissect the issue without an opinion. It happens in the SAT, which is a fact-based or an objective assignment. On the other hand, the ACT will give you a prompt asking you for your opinion in relevance to the subject.
Tips for Taking the SAT Successfully
To create your study schedule, you need to select a test date for the SAT first. When you know the date, you can schedule your study accordingly. Try budgeting a minimum of two to three hours per week for studying. Keep your mind fresh, and don’t get burned out before the test date.
Read through different questions on the SAT and practice them as they will help you gain more familiarity with the language and the structure. It’s a good idea to research the different ways to improve your comprehension and reading speed. For instance, you may want to try “Word Chunking” or techniques like practice limiting your impulse to keep reading the sentences.
Most people think that the SAT is only taken once, and that’s pretty much it. However, reality suggests a lot of students take the test multiple times. Research indicates that retaking the SAT may lead to the improvement of the scores.
Tips for Taking the ACT Successfully
Multiple-choice questions in the test have some advantages: For example, they already come with the right option. The ACT hides the right solution under the wrong ones. However, when you eliminate a few wrong ones, the correct answer gets more noticeable. So, use the elimination method when in doubt.
The ACT section for math requires you to grasp different formulae. So, try making a pool of mathematical formulae while preparing for the test so you can memorize them in time and apply them on need.
How to Prepare for Them Both?
If it is difficult for you to prepare for the test on your own, or you don’t know where to start, you might consider taking a prep class first. Some of the schools provide you with in-person and remote study programs and groups, and you might be able to see a private prep institute in your area. Your instructor can give you a direction for your work which will significantly help you.
You also need to see the exam lists of the SAT right in front of every math section. However, the ACT exam doesn’t have this feature. That is why you need to memorize them with some concepts. Practicing often will help you remember them, saving you a lot of time when you take the test.
It would help if you also practiced reading articles and challenging books to improve your reading and writing skills. A list of suggested reading is presented by the College Board, which will help you prepare for the reading, writing, and comprehension section. Whenever you see an unknown word, underline it and search for it. It will improve your vocabulary as well. You can also install some handy apps on your device to study on the go.