SAT or ACT: Which test is right for you?
By: TestRocker Inc
As a student interested in attending a US college or university, you have many decisions ahead of you. In addition to deciding which schools to apply to, you also need to pick the best possible test scores to include in your application. As more and more students opt to take the ACT, it’s important to understand how key differences between the SAT and ACT can work in your favor. Our SAT vs ACT handout mentions a few (watch our SAT vs ACT video to see them all): Math Section The ACT tests a number of math topics that are not covered on the SAT. While the SAT only covers arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability, the ACT tests for additional topics like trigonometry, logarithms, complex numbers, matrices, circle, and ellipses equations. Depending on your level of math comfort this may or may not be music to your ears. Science Section While the SAT has no science section, the ACT has a science section that allows students to demonstrate their reasoning skills. The ACT’s science section tests students’ scientific interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem solving skills. Students use these skills to answer questions related to natural science passages. For individuals who are better at math and science, the ACT is definitely worth considering. Essay Both the SAT and ACT have an essay section. The key difference between the two sections is that the ACT essay section is optional. The mandatory SAT essay is 25 minutes long. The essay prompt presents SAT takers with an issue, requires them to develop a point of view, and then support their chosen position. The optional ACT essay is 30 minutes long. The ACT essay requires students to respond to a question about their point of view on the given prompt. The ACT essay measures the writing skills required of standard high school English coursework. For students who are anxious about having to write an essay under timed conditions, choosing the ACT might help alleviate some of that testing anxiety. Before opting out of the ACT essay completely we advise our students to verify whether their chosen colleges require an ACT writing score. Wrong Answers On the ACT no points are deducted for any wrong or omitted answers. On the SAT students do lose points for wrong answers. For every incorrect multiple-choice answer on the SAT students lose ¼ of a point. Students do not lose points for incorrect student produced responses within the math section or omitted questions. Use this information to inform your test-taking strategy, and to make sure you are guessing smartly. The biggest key to deciding which test is right for you will be taking practice tests for both and then comparing your scores. To learn more about the ACT and why it might be right for you register to attend our Rocking the ACT webinar series today. About TestRocker: TestRocker is an online SAT & ACT prep program that allows students to learn from Suniti Mathur, an expert private tutor with more than 14 years of experience. Having prepared over 1200 students across the world for the SAT and ACT, she has a deep understanding of what works with students of all proficiencies. Students follow a customized study plan and can track their progress as they work through the program. Each of the 1200 SAT & 2000 ACT questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation. TestRocker has helped students increase their score by up to 430 points on the SAT. Suniti has helped students increase their score by up to 8 pts on the ACT. Visit www.testrocker.com to learn more about TestRocker. Image source: Parade.com, Google, and Istock