SAT and ACT Prep and PracticeFor the college bound high school student there are many decisions and plans that he or she will need to make. College admissions testing is one of these important actions that he or she will need to plan and prepare for. There are two tests that students may decide to take - The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Testing, which is currently known only as the ACT. It is up to the student to determine which test is the best fit. Students will want to choose wisely as colleges use these tests along with grades, and extracurricular activities, to determine how students will fair if admitted.
The two tests differ in how they test. The SAT tests the students primarily on his or her reasoning and verbal abilities and is considered more of an aptitude test. The ACT tests what students have learned and is considered an achievement test. The SAT has a stronger focus on vocabulary and writing than the ACT, which has a stronger emphasis on mathematics and includes a science section. Once a student has decided on which test to take, preparation is crucial to success. The specific test that is being taken will affect how a student prepares for it. In addition, strong study habits will also help students as they prepare and practice for the test of their choice. Well in advance of taking the test it is important that students take a hard look at their current method of studying and any habits that could prove problematic when studying for either the SAT or ACT.
There are many valuable tips that can be used to make the necessary adjustments and improve student study skills. Heeding study tips will ensure that study time is productive and effective. In addition to studying, students will also want to brush up on their test taking abilities to ensure that they are performing at their best when it comes time to take the actual test.
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- Find a quiet spot to study and focus on the hardest topics first.
- Develop a test preparation time-table and adhere to it as much as possible.
- Participate in study groups.
- Students can help themselves remain calm by focusing on the test and not dwelling on the results of the test, which is out of their ability to control.
- A person should arrive early enough at the testing site to organize his or her thoughts and to relax prior to the test starting.
- Create a review sheet with the main information that is being studied. Review this information frequently.
SAT Prep and Practice
- Know what the median score range is for the SAT and use it to set a goal for the desired score.
- For the SAT Critical Reading section, develop a strategy to answering questions. For example, when for passage-based reading questions, review questions prior to reading the passage.
- To prepare for test day, students should be fully rested, wear comfortable clothing, and bring their official photo identification, a watch, three No. 2 pencils.
- Complete practice tests prior to the test date.
- Students will want to brush up on the rules of Standard English and practice writing complex and compound complex sentences.
ACT Prep and Practice
- Prepare for the ACT by taking ACT practice exams prior to the actual test. Use the results to focus future study efforts.
- To prepare for the science section of the test, practice by reading charts and graphs, reviewing varying scientific view points and interpreting results to experiments.
- Reading everything from fiction to magazines is an ideal way to prepare for the ACT as it helps improve comprehension.
- The student should verify that his or her calculator is permitted. If unfamiliar with the calculators that are permitted the student should familiarize his or herself with an accepted calculator while taking practice tests before taking the ACT.
- Use practice time to also learn the directions for each of the sections. Knowing the directions will help save time for more difficult questions.