SAT or ACT? Many students will be looking to take some practice SAT tests pretty soon, or they may be looking for a tutor to assist them with test taking strategies for these type of standardized tests. The two tests most high school students take, SAT and ACT are used by colleges for admissions and for merit-based scholarships. Many times, parents are wondering which test they should have their child take. The answer is….that depends on your child’s strengths. In most cases, teenagers take the SAT; however, there are many cases in which the ACT may be the better test for your child. Let’s take a look at some of the differences of the two types of tests:

In terms of test structure, the SAT has 3 sections and one optional essay part. The test takes approximately 3 hours without the essay, and about an hour longer with the essay portion. In comparison, the ACT has 4 sections. The test takes about the same amount of time as the SAT, 3 hours without an essay and about another 40-45 minutes with an essay included. In terms of reading, there is one additional passage with the SAT. The ACT has a science section as its addition. The math portions of each test cover about the same topics: Arithmetic, Algebra I and II, Geometry, and Trigonometry. The SAT has an additional portion as it includes data analysis.

Speaking of the math portion, the SAT has a section in which you cannot use a calculator. If you are really good with a calculator or need one, the ACT is more up your alley. In regards to the optional essay portion, the SAT tests your comprehension of a source text similar to the Georgia Milestones whereas the ACT will have you evaluate and analyze complex issues.

When analyzing the scoring, the two tests are totally different in the way points are distributed. For the SAT, the scale is from 400-1600 whereas the ACT is 1-36. In terms of test questions, there are approximately 65 more questions on the ACT than the SAT.

Still having a hard time deciphering which test would be best for your child to take? Well, you may want to consider having your child take a practice test for each to see how he/she does. This may help determine which test to actually take during the Junior and/or Senior year. For further detailed information about the SAT, you can review the College Board’s website and for more information regarding the ACT test, visit ACT’s website.

In summary, it’s important to start early in getting your child the test-taking strategies they will need to succeed on either of these tests. There are a couple of ways to do this, either through private tutoring or small group. Contact Dynamis Learning Academy to find out more about our tutoring services related to these or any standardized tests.