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Alex Spare

on 7 February 2017

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Transcript of ACT SAT FAQs

Alex Spare
Arapahoe High School

Facts and FAQs
about the

The SAT now
much more like the ACT.

Time will tell how similar it is.

One common conception is that the SAT is a superior test of critical thinking and aptitude--now less defensible mostly because the new version is less confusing.
What’s the Difference (now)?
The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not. (Although the new SAT now contains charts and data analysis in all sections).

The SAT reading/writing section places a bigger emphasis on technique and style (An educated guess after viewing released practice questions.)

SAT reading: marathon. ACT reading: sprint

New SAT math is more algebra- heavy while the ACT is heavier on geometry.

Essay: SAT wants analysis of text; ACT wants opinion/synthesis.

Source: blog.prepscholar.com
Key Differences
A. 19
B. 21
C. 22
D. 23
What was the national average ACT composite score in 2015?

B. 21

A. 76%
B. .76%
C. .076%
D. .0076%
What percentage of
1,845,787 students
who took the ACT (class of 2014)
scored 36?
CO average: 20.1
LPS average: 22.7
HHS average 22.8
AHS average: 23.5

C. .1%
1,407 students

(99th %ile: 33 and above)
(90th %ile: 28 and above)
Yes. The ACT is the most widely accepted college entrance exam.

Virtually every major university will accept
the ACT
the SAT test.

The new SAT is still being questioned by some (because it's new).

SAT subject tests are sometimes required by colleges to measure your knowledge in certain areas
(English, Math, Social Studies, Science or Foreign Language)

Check your college's specific requirements.
Is the ACT enough?
What is on the ACT?
Evidence-based Reading and Writing:
Reading: 52 questions, 65 minutes
Writing & Language: 44 questions, 35 minutes

(no calculator): 20 questions, 25 minutes
(with calculator): 38 questions, 55 minutes

Essay (optional): 1 prompt, 50 minutes. Separate score.

Scores in each section out of 800,
with a total of 1600 possible.

Avg. National Score for the new SAT: 1000.
Top 25 % score: 1200.
What is on the SAT?
English: 75 questions, 45 minutes
Math: 60 questions, 60 minutes
Reading: 40 questions, 35 minutes
Science Reasoning: 40 questions, 35 minutes
Essay (optional): 1 prompt, 40 minutes
Yes! Guessing is highly encouraged on both tests.

There is no penalty for incorrect guesses. Guessing cannot hurt your score on the ACT or the SAT!

Should I Guess?
The NCAA Clearinghouse accepts both the ACT and the SAT.

Colleges maintain the same testing score standards for their athletes as their mainstream students, so ask them what a preferred score would be.

The clearinghouse has a “sliding scale" that considers both GPA and test scores.
What if I’m an athlete…?
The SAT is free for students in Colorado ONCE PER YEAR. (This year: April 11th) All juniors are eligible and expected to take the state SAT.

Otherwise go to
to register: $39.50 (without writing) or $56.50 (with writing).

. $43 (without writing) or $54.50 (with writing).

Both ACT an SAT offer 4 free reports per test, but you must choose this free option within 9 days of testing. (Before you see your score).

You may also wait until you see your scores, but it costs $.
($12 per school)
How do I register?
Test prep classes usually run from $75 (for an hour or two) to $1000+ (many hours of classroom time and practice tests).

A variety of companies offer test prep classes and tutoring. Tutors make from $30 to over $100/hour.

Study guides and flash cards. Self-motivated students experience success by studying on their own.

Check out SAT's "Daily Practice" App and ACT's online practice. Also 7 full practice tests online.

Khan Academy has partnered with SAT to provide personalized SAT prep.offers a free service online

Princeton Review offers free live practice tests
as a marketing tool/service.
How do I study for the exams?
The AHS post-grad center has a list of recommended sources.

Explore the community network.
The landscape is always changing. Nextdoor.com?

Great site for general info about the tests: blog.prepscholar.com

Fee Waivers: available to students who need financial assistance.

Students who are granted fee waivers may
also eligible for free college application fees.

Talk to your counselor.
I want to take the SAT/ACT but can’t
afford it…
what do I do about the fees?
You may qualify for extended time
when taking the SAT or ACT.

Talk to your learning support services teacher or a counselor.

ACT and SAT make all final
determinations as to extended time.
I have an IEP or a 504…?
ACT Reports will start coming out about
10 days after the test. (multiple choice only)

SAT scores: 3-6 weeks

Allow 2-4 weeks for score reports
to be sent to schools.

When will I know my score?
You can take these tests as many times as you like.

Focused study is the best way to improve.

According to actstudent.org, 57% of students in the class of 2015 increased their score upon retest. (21% stayed the same, and 22% decreased).
What if I don’t like
my score?
Next test: February 11th
Registration Deadline: past
Late Registration Deadline past
Stand-by testing: $49 dollar fee (first come, first served)
(After this weekend, the next option is April 8th)

Next test: March 11th
Registration deadline: February 10th
Late registration deadline (mail): 2/21
Late registration deadline (online or phone): 2/28
Note: testing on August 26th this year (this is new--no September Date))

Oops, I missed the registration deadline… what now?
In short, it depends. If you are interested in percentiles, they are published online.

Some scholarship opportunities will open up at certain score levels. Research school-by school. (example: CU Boulder: 3.9 GPA + 28 ACT = $2,500/year.)

Take a full practice test(in one sitting if you can) then set reasonable goals and choose appropriate guidance.
What is a good score?
C. .076%
Parents: Since you sent your scores to colleges, has anyone ever asked again about your scores?
In reality, this is just one step on a long journey.
What about the new versions of the tests?
New SAT (2016)
Essay is now optional, and more time
to write it. Sample essay is a rhetorical analysis.
No more guessing penalty!
More emphasis on "knowledge, skills and understandings"
No more direct testing of vocabulary
Back to the old 1600 scoring system
"New" ACT (2015):
Go to
for more details.
subtle changes
in questions (e.g. more probability and statistics on the math section) -- will mostly go unnoticed

Optional essay has changed
: now asks students to consider multiple perspectives on one topic.

Optional constructed responses
in math, reading, and science (30 minutes each)--administered with optional essay.

A "
" passage in reading
Go to
for more details.
Note: I am happy to share this
Prezi. Just ask.
Keep it in perspective...

Source: blog.prepscholars.com
Source: Colorado Dep. of Ed.
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