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PSAT.....SAT.....ACT

Test Information

When Should I Take the ACT and or SAT?

Practice Test Sites:

 

Practice and end World Hunger


http://testprep.sparknotes.com


www.testprepreview.com

(no charge for above sites)

Colleges/Universities that DO NOT require the ACT or SAT

 

Information on Fee Waivers for the SAT and ACT

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/calenfees/feewaivers.html

SAT Fee Waiver

ACT Fee Waiver

 

College Application Fee Waivers

College Application Waivers

 

Test Score Results

sat score results timeline

act score results timeline

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The ACT versus the SAT

The SAT dominates the national discussion of standardized testing; the ACT seldom gets mentioned. However, each year, nearly the same number of students take each test. Traditionally, American colleges used the SAT, rather than the ACT, as the standard-bearer in college admissions. But recently an increasing number of colleges around the country have begun to accept ACT scores from applicants, either in addition to SAT scores or in lieu of them. For you, the important question is which of the two tests should you take?
You should do the following two things when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT:

  • Find out whether the colleges to which you are applying require one test rather than the other.
  • If it doesn’t matter which test you take, decide which test is better suited to your skills (i.e., the test on which you’ll score better).

College Requirements

Please note: States that require the ACT are: Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, Kentucky, and Wyoming. 

The majority of colleges in the U.S., particularly those on the East and West Coasts, still require an SAT score as part of the application. But depending on the schools to which you are applying, you may have a choice between the ACT and the SAT, so be aware of your options. Given the varying preferences at American colleges, you should carefully examine your application requirements before registering for either test. Beware of wording as well: when the writers of the ACT tell you that most U.S. colleges and universities “accept” ACT results, don’t be fooled into thinking that those schools will take the ACT in place of the SAT—many are merely willing to look at your ACT score in addition to your SAT score. In order to avoid confusion near application deadline time, make sure you know which scores schools want. If you are confused about a school’s requirements, contact that college or university’s admissions office for clarification.
Also remember that the new writing section offered in February 2005 is an optional requirement. Some schools will require it and others won’t, so make sure you know each institution’s requirements. Note that if you do choose to take the writing test, your writing scores will be sent to all schools regardless of whether or not they require the writing test. Schools must specifically request not to be sent the writing scores.


Choosing the Right Test for You 

The ACT and the SAT are both meant to test your knowledge of the fundamentals of a high school education in the United States. Yet the writers of the two tests are guided by very different philosophies, and the two exams have different formats and test different subject matter. These differences are significant enough that you might feel much more comfortable taking one test rather than the other. We will describe these differences below:



Differences in Testing Philosophy

ACT

SAT

The ACT strives to assess the knowledge you’ve acquired, meaning that the test focuses on subjects and skills taught in high school.

The SAT tries to assess “innate ability.”
It strives to measure aptitude versus achievement. 
Measures critical thinking.

You should consider your strengths in comparison with the subjects tested by both tests.



Differences in Format

 

The ACT

The SAT

Total Time

175 minutes (plus 30 minute optional writing test)

225 minutes (plus 25 minute experimental section)

Total Number of Sections

4 (plus the optional writing test)

3 (plus 1 experimental section)

The differences in format are not terribly significant.

Taking Both Tests 

If time and money allow, you may want to consider taking both the ACT and the SAT. That way, you can have your choice of the two scores when applying to colleges. If you’re applying to a mix of schools, some of which accept the SAT and some the ACT, you’re covered on all sides. While we emphasized the differences between the two tests, studying for both tests actually would overlap a great deal. Both the ACT and the SAT ultimately test your ability to think, and both cover the basics of a high school education.

When to Take the Test 

Most people take the ACT or SAT or both at the end of junior year or the beginning of senior year. We recommend taking it at the end of junior year for a number of reasons:

  • Taking the test junior year will give you time to retake it if necessary.
  • You will have covered most of the material by the end of junior year, and it will be fresh in your mind.
  • You are likely to forget some material during the summer before your senior year.
  • Reading over the summer may increase your vocabulary comprehension.

Ultimately, when you choose to take the test depends on only one thing: you. If you don’t feel comfortable taking it junior year, spend some time during the summer reviewing and take the test during the fall of your senior year. If you are applying for regular admission to colleges, you will probably have a couple of test dates with which to work during your senior year, but take the earliest possible test if you are applying for early admission.
Choosing Between the Two? 

You might wonder why you have to choose between the SAT and the ACT--maybe one of the two is favored by the students in your school. Ten or 20 years ago, choosing which test to take wasn't even an issue. Until recently, the ACT was traditionally required by colleges in the midwest, and the SAT was the test of choice in the northeast and on the east and west coasts. But now an increasing number of students are taking the ACT, and the majority of schools in the United States now accept bothSAT and ACT test results.


The Power of Prediction

While the SAT and ACT are very different tests, they both fulfill the same role in the admissions process.


How This Affects You

This increased acceptance of the ACT gives today's savvy students a strategic advantage. The SAT and ACT are significantly different tests, and in many ways, they measure different skills. So depending on your particular strengths and weaknesses, you may perform much better on one test than the other. As a result, many students embarking on the admissions process are now considering both the SAT and ACT--to figure out which test provides a better showcase for their abilities.


What's the Difference?

Admissions officers and educators often describe the difference between SAT and ACT in these terms: the ACT is a content-based test, whereas the SAT tests critical thinking and problem solving. This perception is one reason many educators (off the record) express a preference for the ACT--because they believe that the ACT is closer to testing the "core curriculum" taught in most school classrooms. In fact, this contrast isn't exactly watertight. Many questions on the ACT test critical thinking, and there is a predictable range of material that's tested on the SAT. But the SAT and ACT reward different attributes, so performing well on each test can boil down to what kind of test taker you are. 
Here are some of the factors that make the SAT and ACT very different breeds:

  • The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not.
  • The ACT math section includes trigonometry.
  • The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT.
  • The SAT is not entirely multiple choice.
  • The SAT has a guessing penalty; the ACT does not.
  • The ACT tests English grammar; the SAT does not.

Remember, both the SAT and ACT are important parts of your application, but they're only one of several factors--from your courses and grades to recommendations and your personal statement--that colleges consider. 
SAT and ACT in these terms: the ACT is a content-based test, whereas the SAT tests critical thinking and problem solving. This perception is one reason many educators (off the record) express a preference for the ACT--because they believe that the ACT is closer to testing the "core curriculum" taught in most school classrooms. In fact, this contrast isn't exactly watertight. Many questions on the ACT test critical thinking, and there is a predictable range of material that's tested on the SAT. But the SAT and ACT reward different attributes, so performing well on each test can boil down to what kind of test taker you are. 
Here are some of the factors that make the SAT and ACT very different breeds:

  • The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not.
  • The ACT math section includes trigonometry.
  • The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT.
  • The SAT is not entirely multiple choice.
  • The SAT has a guessing penalty; the ACT does not.
  • The ACT tests English grammar; the SAT does not.

Remember, both the SAT and ACT are important parts of your application, but they're only one of several factors--from your courses and grades to recommendations and your personal statement--that colleges consider.

Conversion Chart for ACT and SAT


Score Comparison
ACT
SAT

36

2400

35

2340

34

2260

33

2190

32

2130

31

2040

30

1980

29

1920

28

1860

27

1820

26

1760

25

1700

24

1650

23

1590

22

1530

21

1500

20

1410

19

1350

18

1290

17

1210

16

1140

15

1060

14

1000

13

900

12

780

11

750

About PSAT/NMSQT

The Preliminary SAT®/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a co-sponsored program by the College Board andNational Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC)
PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test™. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs. 
The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • critical reading skills
  •     math problem-solving skills
  • writing skills

You have developed these skills over many years, both in and out of school. This test doesn't require you to recall specific facts from your classes.
The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are:

  • to receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • to see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • to enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11).
  • to help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
  • to receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

Please note that each high school chooses only oneOctober test date.

SAT Reasoning Test

The SAT Reasoning Test is the nation's most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students' knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school. 
The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate. The SAT is an important resource for colleges. It's also one of the best predictors of how well students will do in college.
Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas.

SAT Question Types

The SAT includes several different question types, including: a student-produced essay, multiple-choice questions, and student-produced responses (grid-ins). Select any section below to learn more about specific question types.
Critical Reading
Mathematics
Writing

Register on line for the SAT at collegeboard

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ACT


www.act.org

 

In compliance with Federal law, including Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, New Hanover County Schools administers all state-operated educational programs, employment activities, and admissions without discrimination because of disability, race, religion, national, or ethnic origin, color, age, military service, or gender except where exemption is appropriate and allowed by law.

To file a complaint of discrimination, contact: Dr. Rick Holliday, Assistant Superintendent, Student Support and Federal Programs, 6410 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington, NC 28412, Telephone (910) 254-4206; Fax (910) 254-4352.

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