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ACT SAT FAQs
Transcript of ACT SAT FAQs
Alex Spare --
Arapahoe High School
and ACT Review Group
Facts and FAQs
ACT and SAT
The SAT now looks much more like the ACT.
Time will tell just how similar it is.
The common conception that the SAT is a superior test of critical thinking and aptitude is 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.)
New SAT math is supposedly more algebra- heavy while the ACT is heavier on geometry.
Essay: SAT wants analysis of text; ACT wants opinion.
What was the national average ACT composite score in 2015?
What percentage of
who took the ACT (class of 2014)
CO average: 20.1
LPS average: 22.7
HHS average 22.8
AHS average: 23.5
(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 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: 1090.
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).
4 free reports per test, but you must choose this free option upon registration.
You may also wait until you see your scores, but it costs $.
(SAT $11.25 per school, ACT $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.
Princeton Review offers free practice tests
as a marketing tool/service.
How do I study for the exams?
The HHS post-grad center has a list of recommended sources.
Explore the community network.
The landscape is always changing. Nextdoor.com?
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 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…?
Reports will be available online
2-8 weeks after the test.
Allow 2-3 weeks for score reports
to be sent to schools.
AHS will also receive a score report
if student provides our high school
CEEB Code number,
at the time of registration.
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
Next test: December 10th.
Registration Deadline: past
Late Registration Deadline: through Nvember 18th
Next test: December 3rd
Registration deadline: past
Late registration deadline (mail): 11/15
Late registration deadline (online or phone): 11/22
Oops, I missed the registration deadline… what now?
In short, it depends.
Take a full practice test
(in one sitting if you can)
then set reasonable goals and
choose appropriate guidance.
What is a good score?
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):
for more details.
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.
" passage in reading
for more details.
Note: I am happy to share this
Prezi. Just ask.
Keep it in perspective...
Source: Colorado Dep. of Ed.