If you are thinking about attending college, it is important that you prepare for and pass the appropriate college entrance exams. The two exams that colleges will consider are the ACT and the SAT. It is now common practice for students to take both exams when they are considering attending college. When you take both of these tests, you can find out which one caters to your individual strengths better. Each test focuses on similar subjects, but each exam places emphasis on different aspects of those subjects. We will talk about each test’s content and how to properly study for these tests to achieve the best possible score, which will increase your chance for college admission and scholarships.
ACT Test Content and Information
ACT stands for American College Testing. It is a comprehensive test that covers various skills learned throughout your high school education. The ACT test covers five different areas, including a 45-minute English section, a 60-minute math section, a 35-minute reading section, a 35-minute science section and a 30-minute (optional) writing section. The test asks a wide variety of questions in each topic to be sure to cover all main areas of each subject area. The writing portion is not required because some colleges require it for admission while others do not. You should make the decision whether or not to take it based on the requirements of the colleges to which you are applying. It is always a good idea to go ahead and take the writing portion in case you change your mind about a particular college and would then have to retake the ACT if you did not take the writing portion the first time.
The math section of the ACT focuses on trigonometry, arithmetic, algebra I and II, geometry and functions, but no formulas are provided on the actual test. When you prepare to take the ACT, you can choose to study independently with a study guide book, take a course at a learning center in your town or online, or take a course offered by your high school for test preparation. The ACT test is usually most popular in public colleges, but every four-year college and university will accept ACT scores. Scores for each section range from 1 to 36. The scores are then added and averaged to determine your final ACT score.
SAT Test Content and Information
The SAT stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, (which is actually different from what the acronym stood for in the past.) The SAT test includes three subjects. Critical reading is broken into two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. Math also has two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. The writing portion has one 25-minute essay, one 25-minute section and one 10-minute section. The test focuses on reading, vocabulary, writing, math and grammar.
Like the ACT test, the SAT also requires knowledge of several math sections. It covers algebra I and II, functions, arithmetic, geometry and data analysis, but the formulas are provided in the SAT test booklet for you to use during the test. Much like the preparation for the ACT, you can find books, classes and online courses that can help you prepare to take the SAT test. SAT tests are usually most popular with private universities but just like the ACT, all four-year colleges in the United States will accept scores from the SAT. Your scores in each section are between 200 and 800, and are added together to give you a score ranging from 600 to 2400.
Other Important Facts
When you are preparing for college, you may want to increase you chances for admission and the most scholarships possible by taking your ACT and SAT at your earliest convenience. Many scholarships are offered earlier in the school year, so if you already have your test scores, you can submit them for academic scholarships for a better chance at receiving one of them. You can take both tests as many times as you would like. This way you can choose which set or sets of scores you want to submit to your college of choice for admission. No matter what, just be sure you are as prepared as you can possibly be for both tests so you can perform your best.