You bet you can.
Watch this video to find out how.
You bet you can.
Watch this video to find out how.
One: Speed is Critical
If you’re considering taking the ACT, one important factor to consider is speed. Students must answer more questions on the ACT than the SAT in a similar amount of time. So start by asking yourself: do I work quickly? Consider your testing experience in school. If you generally finish tests and turn them in within, say, the first one-third of students, then you should be able to handle the pace of the ACT. If you’re not a student who works quickly, you can improve your pace with timed practice; however, a slower pace can be an impediment to achieving a high score on the ACT.
Two: Science is Not so Science-y
Just because science is not your strongest subject does not mean you shouldn’t take the ACT. Question: what are they really testing on the science section? If you said “Um. Hello! Science!” you are actually wrong. Sure, there is a need for basic science knowledge, like the difference between mitosis and meiosis; however, what students really need to know is how to read tables, diagrams, and graphs. Often the questions tell you exactly where to look (i.e. “Based on Table 2…”)!
Three: ACT is the Equivalent of the SAT
Every admissions office will consider ACT and SAT scores the same way, meaning neither test is superior to the other. We’re encouraging most of our students to take the ACT since there simply isn’t enough material on the Redesigned SAT. Ultimately the decision to take one test over the other should be based on practice test results and students’ experience and comfort level with the format of the tests.
Four: Standardized Content = Opportunity to Improve
Guess what? The ACT test is always the same! Sure the numbers and passages change but the general content and format of the test stays the same. With sufficient practice students can and should improve their scores.
For instance, there are four passage types on the Reading test: Prose Fiction/Literary Narrative, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science. They always appear in the same order. In our book, “Tutor Ted’s Guide to the ACT,” we teach students the nine types of questions that appear on the Reading test and how to answer them, as well as which questions appear more frequently on one passage type versus another. Applying these tools on timed practice tests will help students gain the confidence they need to tackle the Reading test. This applies to all five sections of the test.
Five: The Essay is a Necessary Evil
While the essay does not count towards your overall score, many schools actually want to see it. The format of the essay changed in fall 2015, and students have found it to be more challenging. Now students have to analyze and evaluate three perspectives, share their own perspective, and explain how their perspective relates to the three perspectives provided, all in 40 minutes! In our ACT Guide, we provide instructions on how to create a Blueprint and write a killer essay in the time allotted.
If you read our blog at all, you’ll know that we’ve been sharing some insight into the new SAT and how students can get the best possible prep for it. In this post, I’m going to put some of those thoughts together so that parents can get an overview of how students can be successful on this new test.
The biggest challenge we see thus far on the new SAT is the increased reading level. The redesigned test includes more passages from the 19th and even 18th century. These passages tend to feature complex sentence structures and unfamiliar vocabulary. Students have to read carefully and pay close attention to context. Ideally, they will also have prior experience reading older texts. That won’t be the case for every student. Because of the challenge from these passages, I recommend students spend time practicing reading older texts. Reading is a muscle—and picking up a classic work from the 1800s is like pumping iron.
Good news on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (and I have to go on the record again here and say that I think that name is stupid and even a little confusing…but no time to rant right now) for you: the Writing section is quite manageable. It covers a fair number of grammatical rules over 44 questions, but the universe of grammar is limited. Students who care enough to try will find that improvement here is easy and predictable. We are helping our students get ready for this section by setting clear objectives for content/concept mastery and making sure that all of our students reach those standards.
The Math test is so focused on algebra that every student will benefit from working through everything from the concrete mechanics up through the abstraction understanding of why we use algebra in the first place. Is that fun? Not particularly. Will it get every student to more than 85% mastery of the math sections? You bet. We’ll focus on lines and parabolas because that’s what the test makers are focusing on. In addition, we’ll review fundamentals of factoring, grouping, and other simplification techniques.
On the Writing test, we’ll make sure that students have their own ironclad strategy for writing their essay. Students are likely familiar with essays that ask them to analyze and incorporate a given text into their argument. They may be less familiar with the writing essays that require them to go beyond an interpretation of the author’s argument. Students will have to learn how to analyze another writer’s strategy. We’ll teach that technique as well as the names of rhetorical strategies that students can cite.
Lastly, we’ll insist that our students take practice tests. The whole test prep industry has been hamstrung by the relative lack of official practice materials. We’ll make the most use we can out of the tests that College Board has released and administer them under test-realistic conditions at our office.
We are up for the challenge of the Redesigned SAT! We hope you are too. If you have any specific questions about the new test, please reach out and <a href=”tel:13106009595″>ask us!</a>
Getting your son or daughter ready for college admission can be a daunting task. You can make it easier! We offer free phone consultations to help you make the right plan for your college admissions test prep. We’ve got all of the answers and more! Call us at 310-600-9595 and we’ll be happy to ease your mind and get you on the right path!
PSAT results are in; now it’s decision time. You’ve got to pick between the SAT and ACT. “But how do I decide?” you ask. Easy! Just follow these three steps.
Step 1: Take a Practice ACT
The best thing you can do to figure out which test to prepare for is to take a practice test. You’ve taken the PSAT so you have a sense of what the SAT will be like. Now take a free, publicly available practice ACT so you can compare your experience and results.
Step 2: Send us Your Answer Sheets—We’ll Score It For Free
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a breakdown of how you performed on the test and know which areas you may need to focus on? You can! All you need to do is scan or take photos of your answer sheets and email them to us.
Step 3: Call us for a Free Phone Consultation
Once you have your scores you can likely use some expert guidance to help you make your decision. We’ll user our brand new Score Converter to figure out your anticipated ACT and SAT scores based on your PSAT score. We will also discuss your experience with the tests to determine which test is the right one for you. Call us today!
The time is now! Download the test, pick up the phone, and let’s get started!
With the arrival of the Redesigned SAT, we reached out to our friends in the admissions offices at Harvard, Princeton, and Northwestern to find out how they will handle the new test, the old test, and the ACT. Here are the questions we asked followed by their answers.
What is your opinion of the new SAT?
“The new SAT is as new to us as it is to the students so we will have to see how everything unfolds but we commit to giving students fair consideration and I don’t imagine that our review process will change drastically.”
Is the ACT the equal of the SAT?
“We accept the results from both the ACT and SAT and consider them in the same way.”
How will you compare Redesigned SAT results to ACT and old SAT results?
“We will likely eventually get a score concordance table from ACT and the College Board that allows us to compare results. We don’t have that table yet but that is what we have used in the past.”