SAT & ACT

ACT vs. SAT

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in SAT & ACT | Comments Off on ACT vs. SAT

ACT vs. SAT

ACT vs. SAT

Welcome to the new school year everyone! I’ve always found the start of a school year to be exciting and full of potential and promise: new classes, new teachers (or old favorites on new subjects), new combinations of friends and activities. So many possibilities, and so much to do.

And if you are a junior or senior, this time of year most likely has you thinking about standardized tests. Juniors are about to take their PSAT of record and are thinking about their upcoming SAT’s or ACT’s in the early spring; Seniors are taking their final versions of these tests and dreaming of the moment when all their college application hoops are jumped through and they can sit back and see how the acceptances come in.

I’ve been tutoring standardized tests for more than two decades now, and a question I get a lot is: what are the differences between the SAT and ACT and which test should I take? And while the tests have many points of similarity, there are also many significant differences that can help you decide which test to throw your preparation energies behind.

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Seniors: October Checklist

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Application Process, SAT & ACT, Seniors | 0 comments

Seniors: October Checklist

Oh yes, October is busy

  • Finalize your college list and complete your applications for early decision and early action schools. If you are applying early, make sure your Naviance is updated and tell your counselor and recommenders of your plan.
  •  See which schools on your list have Rolling Admissions. Make a plan to send these applications in early and make sure you request transcripts and test scores to be sent so your application is complete.
  •  Make sure you have established an application account online for each college on your list.
  • Request official transcripts be sent to each college on your list, except UC and CSU campuses. For schools on the Common Application, your counselor should send a transcript as part of the SSR (secondary school report). Your high school counselor will likely give you instructions on how to request transcripts. Be sure to follow all instructions and meet all deadlines.
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SAT Subject Tests

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in SAT & ACT | 0 comments

SAT Subject Tests

It is the time of the year to decide if you are going to take any SAT Subject Tests (SAT 2) in May or June. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions in my office.

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Should I take the ACT and the SAT?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in SAT & ACT | 0 comments

Should I take the ACT and the SAT?

Every year I get the question of whether a student should take the ACT or the SAT, or both. It can be very hard to determine the best test for a student without having the student take a practice exam. Students DO NOT need to take both exams to be eligible for college admission and all colleges and universities accept either the SAT or ACT. If you are just starting to think about standardized testing, please send me an email if you would like to receive practice materials.

Recently, I attended a seminar presented by Lisa Zimmer-Hatch regarding the ACT. Below are some of the things I found the most interesting.

The ACT has the following sections:

English Section 75 questions 45 minutes
Math Section 60 questions 60 minutes
Reading Section 40 questions 35 minutes
Science Section 40 questions 35 minutes
Writing Section 1 Essay 30 minutes

 

The ACT is VERY predictable. Every test has the sections mentioned above and the test is in the same order every time. In the English section there will always be 4 passages (prose fiction, social studies, humanities and natural sciences) in the same order. Students who paid attention in English class, but are not avid readers, tend to do well on the ACT. If a student has the ability to focus for longer period of time, they may also do well on the ACT. Students who have a harder time focusing may do better on the SAT because the sections are shorter. The big caveat to this is students who are granted extra time. Students who have extra time on both tests, tend to do better on the ACT.

Although both the ACT and SAT test similar skills, here is breakdown of some of the differences.

The ACT The SAT
Content based Critical thinking and problem-solving based
Fewer, but longer sections More sections, but each section is shorter
No penalty for guessing A fraction of a point is deducted for wrong answers
A science section No official science section (some science questions)
No vocabulary questions (all in context of reading) Vocabulary questions
Trigonometry questions on the test No trigonometry questions on the test

 

Some schools DO super-score the ACT, meaning they take your highest score in each section, regardless of the test date. Todd at College Admissions Partners has a list of schools that super-score the ACT. So access it simply click here.

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Standardized Testing: Questions about the ACT and SAT that often never get answered by college admissions officers

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in SAT & ACT | 0 comments

Standardized Testing: Questions about the ACT and SAT that often never get answered by college admissions officers

Bob Clagett, a regular contributor to The New York Times’ Education blog, “The Choice” and formally the Senior Admissions Advisor at Middlebury College and Associate Director of Financial Aid at Harvard College for twenty one years discusses many things in this article including sending multiple test sittings, when to send SAT 2 scores and comparing SAT and ACT writing scores. Although he is only one perspective, Mr. Clagett is incredibly knowledgeable.

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Testing optional colleges and universities? Do they really exist?

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in SAT & ACT | 0 comments

Testing optional colleges and universities? Do they really exist?

The answer is YES! Fair Test lists every college and university that does not require the SAT or ACT for admission. In some cases students must submit a writing sample or a portfolio of work, which for most students is a much more accurate reflection of their potential than a lousy SAT score.

When I ask student what stresses them out the most about the college process, the most common answers is standardized testing. One way to deal with the anxiety over testing is to look at Fair Test and figure out if there are a few schools that can be added to your student’s college list that do not require standardized testing. STANDADIZED tests are not the most important information on your college application. They are just one piece of the complex, intelligent and interesting landscape of each student.

Some schools on the list: American University (D.C), Arizona State(AZ), Bates College (ME), Bowdoin College (ME), Connecticut College (CT), Lewis and Clark College (OR), CSU Long Beach (CA), Dennison University (OH), DePaul University (IL), Franklin and Marshall College (PA)

**** please always check the school’s website to confirm the testing policies, procedures and requirements.

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