How much of SAT/ACT test prep is learning test taking strategies, and how much of it is learning the content?
Good question. It depends. For most students, it is more content. For example: We have to remind students, "We know the ACT and SAT are going to test you on exponents. Here is a typical way exponents are tested on the ACT and SAT and here is a strategy for solving any questions like this."
Yes, there are test-taking strategies, i.e. reading comprehension strategies, when to guess, how to narrow questions down to two answer choices, but over the course of 12 hours of test prep, more time is typically spent on the content: the math, reading, and grammar skills that we know students are going to be tested on over and over.
When is the last time a student can take the SAT or ACT and still use the scores to apply to college?
The main point we always emphasize here is that students can always take the SAT or ACT one more time if need be. At Method Test Prep we never want a student feeling like it is "now or never." We have had many seniors take the December ACT and the January SAT and have colleges withhold a final application decision. Also, we have had students raise their ACT or SAT scores late in their senior year and get financial aid or a scholarship package based on the better scores.
What are the differences between the SAT and ACT?
The Sat and ACT have many similarities, but there are also some stark differences between them. The ACT's math and reading comprehension questions tend to be viewed as slightly easier, but the timing on these sections is much more difficult than on the SAT. The SAT's reading comprehension relies on critical thinking and the ACT's relies more on going back to the passage and finding an answer.
The SAT's math is trickier and relies more on figuring out what is being asked, while the ACT's math tends to be more straightforward, but includes more figuring. The ACT also has a science section, but calling it a science section is somewhat misleading because it is mostly about testing one's capabilities reading and interpreting graphs and charts.
What is a "GOOD" SAT or ACT score?
A good SAT or ACT score varies from students to student and from college to college. It is always a good idea to do some research into what the colleges you are considering expect from the scores. Some colleges are more rigorous than other (and not always the colleges you'd expect). The average SAT score is a 510 in all three areas (adding up to a 1530), but they vary from test to test.
Anytime a student hits a 600, he or she deserves a pat on the back. Here's a chart that breaks down where students might land. The average ACT score is around a 21. For students to be competitive, they should look for at least a 25 overall. Once a students ends up in the high 20s, they are golden.
We hope this has answered some of your SAT & ACT questions!
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