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SAT vs. ACT

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Laura Abercrombie

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of SAT vs. ACT

A Side by Side Comparison
SAT
ACT
Type of test
Resoning test
Content Based
Format
Critical Reading: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Math: 2, 25-min sections and 1, 20-min section; Writing: 1, 25-min essay, 1, 25-min section, and 1, 10-min section
Broken up into more sections than ACT.
English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 30-min essay (optional).
reading,
vocabulary
, grammar & usage, writing, and math
Content
Covered
grammar & usage, math, reading,
science
reasoning, and writing (optional)
Scoring
Penalty for wrong answers?
Difficulty Level
Math Level
Math, Critical Reading, and Writing scores will each range between a 200-800; total SAT score ranges between 600-2400
English, Math, Reading, and Science scores will each range between 1-36. Composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections; ranges between 1-36
yes – you lose ¼ of a point for incorrect answers (except on the grid-in math questions)
no – you do not lose points for incorrect answers
questions increase in difficulty level as you move through that question type in a section (except reading passage questions, which progress chronologically through the passage)
difficulty level of the questions is random
arithmetic, data analysis, algebra I and II, functions, geometry; formulas are provided in the test booklet
arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry; no formulas are provided.
ACT tests more advanced math concepts.
Bright Futures Cut Scores
Florida Academic Scholars ($101 per credit hour)
SAT 1290 (up from 1270 in 2012)
ACT 29 (up from 28 in 2012)
Florida Medallion Scholars ($76 per credit hour)
SAT 1170 (up from 980 in 2012)
ACT 26 (up from 21 in 2012)
National Averages
1500 on SAT

20 - 21 on ACT
Style
tricky, questions can be phrased in ways that make them difficult to decipher
e.g., SAT:
What is your view of the claim that something unsuccessful can still have some value?

straightforward, questions may be long but are usually less difficult to decipher
e.g., ACT:
In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating?
Which one should I take?
It completely depends on your preference. Here are some things to think about when making your decision.
Which did you do better on? The PLAN or the PSAT?
How long can you sit without fidgeting?
What is your learning style? (SAT is based on your ability to reason, ACT is more content based)
Boys do slightly better on the SAT, girls slightly better on the ACT.
The ACT is more of a "big picture" type of test.
ACT Writing Test
Why optional?
Because post secondary institutions have varying needs.
Benefits:
Some schools REQUIRE the writing portion, so before you opt out, check out your school's requirements.
Score is added to your overall MC score, so unless you totally bomb, it can only help you.
Scored much like the SAT writing, but you get an extra five minutes.
Drawbacks:
There is an added cost.
Assignment:
Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
Educators debate extending high school to five years because of increasing demands on students from employers and colleges to participate in extracurricular activities and community service in addition to having high grades. Some educators support extending high school to five years because they think students need more time to achieve all that is expected of them. Other educators do not support extending high school to five years because they think students would lose interest in school and attendance would drop in the fifth year. In your opinion, should high school be extended to five years?

In your essay, take a position on this question. You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
Sample SAT writing prompt
Sample ACT writing prompt
Test Day Strategies:
Rest
Eat
Read something before the test
Leave yourself plenty of time to get there
Make sure you have everything you need (ID, test ticket etc.)
Bring a jacket

Which ever test you decide to do, you can, and should, take it multiple times for a "super score"
Super scoring, or what The College Board calls "score choice" gives students the option to choose the SAT scores by test date and SAT Subject Test scores by individual test that they send to colleges, in accordance with each institution’s stated score-use practice.
Score Choice is optional, and if students choose not to use it, all scores will be sent automatically.
Students will be encouraged to follow the score-reporting requirements of each college to which they apply, but their scores will not be released for admission purposes without their specific consent. Colleges and universities will only receive the scores that students send them.

Do your research!
Most universities and colleges superscore, however there are a select few that do not. Check their websites, or the college board website for details about specific schools.
Can I superscore if I take the ACT?
In the past no, but recently more schools are accepting your highest subtest scores from each sitting. There are far fewer than the SAT, but they're out there.
For instance, FSU and USF both will superscore, UF will not.
Full transcript