Hello! Welcome to my new blog where I answer scholastic questions and share information to help you navigate the challenging waters of your child’s education. I have been blogging since 2009 when I wrote about Heritage Dance and family life. Two years ago I began writing a blog about math patterns in music when I started writing my “Popular 8 Note Songs” series of music pattern song books.
One of the main questions I am asked from the parents of high school students is:
Should my student take the SAT or ACT, and when?
The SAT and ACT are both college entrance exams, and students have the option of taking either one. However, the two tests are very different. But first of all, only students who plan to attend a four year university after high school need to take a college entrance exam. There are certainly other options after high school which include going to community college, taking a year off to work or travel, joining the military or using the money one would have received for college to start a business instead.
How are the SAT and ACT different?
The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test): This test has 1600 points.
In the math section of the SAT, students are given a list of formulas, so not all formulas need to be memorized. The test focuses mainly on algebra, and it has two sections with one section that must be completed without a calculator.
In the reading section, the SAT will often tell you where a section is found, and it requires you to find evidence to answer questions. The writing section focuses on vocabulary and writing style.
The difficulty of the SAT test questions increases throughout the test. The easiest questions come first.
The SAT essay section is optional but some colleges require it. Students have 50 minutes to complete an essay where they write about how the author of a passage uses evidence, such as facts or examples, to support their claims.
The ACT (American College Testing):
This test has 36 points.
In the math section of the ACT, students must memorize all the formulas. The math problems also cover more geometry, logarithms, trigonometry and matrixes in addition to algebra.
In the reading section, the ACT requires that you remember where information is located, and the writing section focuses on grammar and sentence structure.
The difficulty of the ACT test questions are sorted randomly on the test, so being able to skip difficult questions and come back to them is an important skill.
The ACT essay is optional and students are given 40 minutes to evaluate three different perspectives and then provide their own perspective and relate it to one of the perspectives given in the prompt.
The ACT also has a science section where students must read charts and graphs, A strong science vocabulary is helpful.
About fifty percent of students take the SAT and fifty percent take the ACT. Students today are