When it comes to college applications, the ACT and SAT tests are very important. Deciding on which test to take is an important decision as well, but most would opt to take both or to take one multiple times if their first scores are not high enough.
One little tip that can help is that chewing the same flavor of gum during the test as you did when you studied can help improve memory and test scores. Eating a good breakfast can also help. Blueberries especially will help improve your memory and concentration for the test day.
The SAT is longer than the ACT, but is more structured to test certain subjects like math and English, while the ACT is more of a cumulative test that includes science.
In the SAT the questions are ordered by difficulty. The questions in the first third of each section are easy, those in the second are medium, and those in the last are hard. The test has three sections: writing, critical reading and math. Each section is graded on a 200- to 800-point scale, with a total score of 2400. The writing section is especially difficult, entailing a 25-minute essay and 49 multiple-choice questions.
The other option is the ACT, which is divided into four separate tests: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. There is also a voluntary essay. The English section includes 75 questions over a 45-minute period, with a primary focus on sentence structure and grammar. Students are allowed 60 minutes to complete 60 math problems. The reading and science reasoning sections each have 40 questions and with 35 minutes to complete each section. The entire test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.
If taking tests is not your forte, then the SAT might not be your best option, but always study thoroughly before taking either. There are workshops that you can take that will help you prepare for the tests as well, but that can cost money.
When going to the test center always bring an eraser, your admission ticket, a photo ID, a calculator and a no. 2 pencil. If you don’t have the pencil, they will provide one at the test center.
Be sure to arrive on time and know where you are going. Sometimes they may direct you to a different room for the ACT if you have chosen to write the voluntary essay. Make sure to check with colleges to see if they prefer students to write the essay or not.
When taking the test, read the questions thoroughly and take your time, but not too much. You must manage your time efficiently, budgeting time for each question and continually checking the clock. The words “keep calm and carry on” can help you immensely. Try not to panic if you run out of time, just work a bit quicker on the next section given to you.
If you have taken the PSAT or PACT, then you should already know which test you feel more comfortable with and should take that one. Colleges accept both, but some prefer one test over the other so be sure to check.
Just remember to study, study, study. Eat a good breakfast and get a full night’s rest before your test day and you should do just fine.