SAT Tips

Should I take SAT or ACT?

Now that the redesigned SAT has been launched, students and parents are often undecided when choosing between the two tests. The new SAT has actually become more similar to the ACT. Both tests cover almost the same math topics, although ACT often has a broader scope than SAT, and ACT allows the use of calculators throughout the exam where as SAT limits calculator use to only some questions. Both reading and writing tests are passage based, with no stand-alone sentences, but the SAT has more passages and questions than the ACT. The essays are both optional, but they are very different in style: SAT is an analytical essay while ACT is a persuasive essay. The most notable difference is the science section in the ACT, although SAT tries to include a few data interpretation questions in the reading and writing tests. But above all, the most important distinction is the time allowed per question, with ACT being more time pressured than the SAT. Students who can read and think fast will be able to succeed in both tests with the right strategies and practice. Students who are always running out of time may be better off with the SAT.

The scoring system is also the same now that both tests do not penalize students for wrong answers. SAT has a maximum score of 1600, 800 for math and 800 for reading and writing combined. Thus math is 50% of the total score on the SAT while only 25% on the ACT. The maximum score for the ACT per section is 36, and the composite score is the average of the scores from the 4 sections. If a student is strong in math but weak in science and English, taking the SAT is definitely a better choice. A student who is strong in English and science but weak in math would likely get a better overall score on the ACT than the SAT. For other cases, it is recommended that students try both tests to determine the right one.

Important – SAT changes in Spring 2016

The SAT will undergo changes in Spring 2016, so students graduating in 2017 will be taking the new SAT. It is a good idea to take the old SAT in 2015 as well because of the uncertainty that comes with the new test. As an alternative, students can take the ACT if they are applying to U.S.

What should I do to improve my SAT reading skills?

It is important that students read regularly both fiction and non-fiction books. For instance, students can read the editorial sections of the New York Times or other major newspapers. Reading the literary classics also helps students improve their understanding and vocabulary, which in turn will help them with their SAT reading comprehension.

How can I register for the SAT?

You can register at www.collegeboard.org. You can set up an account and choose the test you want to take and where to take the test. The payment is made by credit card.

Top 3 things you must know about the SAT

1)There are 10 sections on the SAT test. First section is always essay and last section is always improving sentence. You can go back to questions within a section but you cannot go back to questions on a previous section.

2) One of the section on the SAT is experimental, so it is not counted. But you don’t know which one.

3) There is a penalty for wrong answer. 1/4 point is deducted for every wrong answer. There is no penalty for Grid in questions in the math section.

How can I score higher on the SAT Writing?

The SAT Writing consists of Grammar and Essay. Students need to learn the grammar rules that are frequently tested on the SAT. As for the essay, know that it is a persuasive essay, so students need to develop arguments using specific examples from history, literature, personal experience, and current events

How can I score higher on the SAT Math?

SAT Math does not contain advanced math topics such as calculus, trigonometry and complex numbers. So why is it so difficult to get above 700 on the SAT math? The main problem is that many students do not read the question carefully and make many careless mistakes along the way.

How can I score higher on the SAT Reading?

SAT Reading is very challenging because many of the passages are about unfamiliar subjects and the way they are written can be confusing to many students. It also seems like there are many answers that could work. It is important that students read regularly, work on their vocabulary and base their answers strictly on the passage.

What do I need to know about the SAT Subject tests?

These are important facts to know about the SAT subject test:

  • 1 hour test
  • Required by competitive schools
  • Max 3 tests at a time
  • Cannot be taken with SAT on the same day
  • Choose your strong subjects
  • Math 1& Math 2, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, US history, World History, Literature, and various languages

SAT Test Taking Tips

These are some general test taking tips for the SAT:

  1. Read questions very carefully
  2. Answer easy questions first
  3. Make educated guesses
  4. Skip questions that are too hard
  5. Don’t spend too much time on one question
  6. Keep track of time
  7. Check your work
  8. Make sure you use a No. 2 pencil
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