SAT & ACT Basics
The standardized test prep industry is oversaturated with how-to tips on preparing oneself for taking the SAT and/or the ACT. Keep in mind that these tests are not intelligence tests – it’s all about strategy and familiarity with the type of questions and concepts presented on the exam. If you allow plenty of time to study, you’ll have nothing to fear come test day. Keep in mind that the SAT/ACT should be a stress-free zone and Parent 2 Parent College Network is here to help you prepare to ensure that come test time, it will be. Here are a few SAT & ACT basics that you need to know.
1. Decide Which Test Is Best For You And For The School You’re Applying
Colleges will accept the SAT or the ACT but deciding which one is best for you can be tricky. The ACT is more of a “big picture” exam and contains a Science section. The questions on the ACT tend to be more straightforward, the math concepts more advanced and the ACT Writing Test is optional on test day, but required by many schools. The SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary, the questions may require you to spend some time figuring out what is being asked before you can solve the problem and the SAT is broken up into more sections. The good news is if science freaks you out, the SAT does not have a science section. There are many assessment exams available online if you need help deciding which test is right for you.
2. Become Familiar With The Test Structure
The content areas of the SAT (Critical Reading, Writing and Math) are broken up into 10 sections with the required essay at the beginning. With the exception of the critical reading section, questions are in ascending order of difficulty and you bounce around a bit between content areas…you do some math, then a little critical reading, some writing, then a little more math, etc.. With the ACT, the content areas (English, Reading, Science and Math) are tackled in one big swoop, with the optional writing test at the end.
3. Read Unfamiliar Subject Matter & Beef Up Your Vocabulary
So you’re not a science whiz and your vocabulary isn’t what you’d like it to be but you want to be as best prepared as possible for the big test. Here’s your chance to do just that! Read articles on subject matters you’re not familiar with…Start by reading several paragraphs and then identify and understand the argument the author is trying to make. Are there words you don’t know? Now is the time to break out that dictionary and learn their definitions, particularly if you’re taking the SAT. Studying vocabulary is one of the easiest ways to raise your SAT score. You can find a list of the most commonly tested vocabulary words for the SAT online.
When it comes to standardized tests, obviously the better you do, the better off you’ll be, but if your scores aren’t where you’d like them – that’s okay. Parent 2 Parent College Network will help you overcome poor grades and scores and help you get into the school of your dreams!