You’re preparing your child for college. And besides ensuring that their grades are up to par, you know they’ll have to tackle that big standardized test—the SAT. Yet, what about that other test you’ve heard about called the ACT? Why do some students take that test? And should your child take both the ACT and SAT? Do you need an ACT tutor and SAT tutor, either in-home or online tutors? Here’s an overview of both tests so that you and your child can make an informed decision.
Many universities use the SAT to help determine the potential success of a student at their university. Of course, they also review the entire application, including transcripts, extracurricular activities usually listed on what’s called a “brag sheet,” and teacher recommendations.
Administered by the College Board, the SAT has three sections: Writing, which includes an essay; Critical Reading, and a Math section. In general, the test is offered seven times per school year, usually on Saturday mornings for 3 hours and 45 minutes. You’ll be able to view scores online about 10-20 days after the test.
Administered by the ACT Corporation, the ACT contains four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Colleges and universities use the ACT for the same purpose as the SAT. The ACT is usually offered six times per school year, usually on Saturday mornings but for 3 hours and 55 minutes. The optional writing section brings the total test time to 4 hours and 25 minutes. Although scores are usually available 10-30 days after the test date, writing scores become available approximately two weeks later.
While the ACT tests achievement, the SAT tests aptitude, and basically every university and college accepts both standardized tests. It’s a good idea for your child to take both tests in order to determine which one he or she feels most comfortable taking and will excel at!
Students can receive up to 800 points for each of the three SAT sections for a total score of 2400. Students can receive up to 36 points for each of the four ACT sections. The highest score a student can earn is 36– the average of the four total scores. The SAT penalizes students ¼ of a point for every incorrect answer, which contributes to reducing a student’s score, while the ACT does not penalize for incorrect answers.
The SAT and the ACT test Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra I & II, Vocabulary, Punctuation, Grammar, Writing Ability, and Reading Comprehension, but the ACT also tests Trigonometry and Reading Structure and does not directly test Vocabulary. The SAT essay is mandatory; the ACT essay is optional. Many students find that the ACT closely resembles the types of tests that they’re used to taking in school, although completing the science section can be difficult. The best strategy for achieving a high SAT or ACT score is to practice, practice, practice, practice, grade each practice test, and then review each time. An ACT tutor and an SAT tutor, in-home and online tutors, can help your child practice and then review which questions they got wrong, which ones they skipped, which questions they guessed but got right, and which questions they took a long time to get the right answer. In addition, students should take the time to work on increasing their vocabulary before the test, especially words found on the SAT and the ACT. An ACT tutor and SAT tutor, including online tutors, should help your child through this process until his scores dramatically improve!
A private ACT tutor or SAT tutor is usually more effective than a prep class, because of the individualized help not found in a class and the prep class may be conducted by an untrained teacher who has difficulty teaching students of differing academic abilities. It’s sometimes difficult to find a qualified, highly experienced SAT tutor or ACT tutor in a certain area, but expert SAT and ACT online tutors can provide the same results as if he or she was right there in your home, and you can work with the best online tutors to help your child get the best score he or she can!
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