In total, the test should take 3 hours, with an additional 50 minutes allotted to those that take the optional essay. This does not include time needed for breaks. Each section is also broken down into timed segments, so as to make sure each student has an equal opportunity to complete the entire test. The sections are timed as such:.
The SAT is organized into the following sections, in chronological order, and each section contains the listed amount of questions.
The price of the test is set by the organization that created it: College Board. Currently, the test costs:. There are also additional fees , depending on your situation.
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There are, however, fee waivers for the test, depending on your circumstances. Originally created in , this test has gone through a few revisions and will soon be available to take online.
The ACT is a timed aptitude test. In total, the test should take 2 hours and 55 minutes, with an additional 40 minutes allotted to those that decide to take the optional writing section. Similar to the SAT, each section of the ACT is further broken down into timed sections to encourage students to not get caught up on a particularly challenging section. They are as follows:. The ACT is broken down into the following sections, in chronological order, and with the following amount of questions per section.
All questions are multiple choice with the exception of the optional writing section. The price of the test is set by the ACT organization that authored it.
There may also be additional fees , depending on your circumstances. For example, if you need to apply to more than four colleges, or register late, you will be charged an additional fee. There are also fee waivers for those that cannot afford to pay for the test.
According to the ACT, information about the waivers are sent out to high schools across the country every year, so they advise discussing your options with your high school to determine if you are eligible for a fee waiver. The starkest difference between these two standardized tests lies in their scoring models. Despite this, it is possible to compare and convert the score of one test to the other see the next section for more on this. For the ACT, which offers 5 multiple choice options per question, a guess has a 20 percent chance of being right. For the SAT, which features 4 options per question, a guess has an even greater chance of being correct, with a 25 percent chance.
The scoring model for the ACT is based on a scale of for each section. Your total score is then determined by an average of all four sections scores, which will be between The writing portion of the test is scored between based on an analytical scoring rubric, and does not count towards the final grade of your exam. In the end, you will be able to decide which school you would like to send your score to, and you can choose up to four colleges or universities in the US.
If you would like to send your scores to more schools, it will cost an additional fee. The scoring model for the SAT does not use an average, but instead adds up the total from each section to determine your final score. The score of both sections will be added up to determine your final score, which will be somewhere from It is graded on a scale of depending on the following factors: reading, analysis, and writing.
Additional fees will apply if you need to send your score to more than four schools. But why convert your scores?
Score conversion can be extremely helpful in determining which test you would be better at — especially if you take an SAT or ACT practice test before deciding. Score conversions can also come into play when sending your final score to a school. Although most schools accept both the SAT and ACT, some might convert your score to their preferred test to determine your eligibility to enroll.
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Additionally, the best way to determine how your score would convert between tests is to compare the subsection scores instead of your final total score. Before you ever take the test, you need to determine which one is better for you. When discussing the differences of the test, the math section is one factor that really sticks out. On the SAT there are two math sections one with a calculator and one without , as well as a math formula reference guide. However, the math sections make up 50 percent of your final SAT score.
On the reverse, the ACT only has one math section with a calculator , no reference guide, and a science section. The next test will be a less stressful experience, and most students experience the greatest score improvements between their first and second test administration. Different students need different kinds of support and thrive in different learning environments. For example, if you know that your child typically needs one-on-one support to focus and excel, a group test prep class is obviously not a good idea.
Is your child typically self-motivated and puts a lot of pressure on him or herself, or does your child often need external motivation to get started? Does your child get stressed out easily? You are the parent, and you know your child best.
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Think about how to support him or her without adding any unnecessary stress, and be careful not to let your own anxiety or worry rub off on your teen. Developing study routines is something that you can certainly get involved with to help set your child on the path to success. This could take many forms, but here are some ideas to get you started:. Preparing for the SAT?
To learn more about standardized tests, check out these CollegeVine posts:. Your child needs to choose one test and focus on it.
To get started studying, your child needs a good idea of where he or she is starting from. Encourage your child to set a realistic goal score. Need to prepare for the ACT? There is no one-size-fits-all preparation method. Expect for your child to take the test more than once. You know your child.
Think about how you can support him or her best. Stock the area with writing utensils, scrap paper, an appropriate calculator, and a dictionary or study guide. Take care not to make this a competitive or anxiety-producing experience; instead, try to keep it fun and lighthearted. Help with time management. High school students are busy. They often have an extensive schedule of extracurriculars following their full day at school.
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It can be hard to find consistent time to prepare for anything else. Help your child to review a calendar, come up with a weekly study time goal, and commit to specific study times during the week to ensure that he or she finds the time necessary. Help with stress management.
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Not only are high school students busy, they are also stretched thin, often to the point of stress. You can help by creating a calm and supportive environment at home. With a few key books and a helpful but inexpensive tutor, effective SAT prep can end up costing you less than a 1, Before you go running off to the bookstore, you should know that not every SAT book is the same. Some are essential; others downright execrable.