College Prep; SAT and ACT Test Preparation Tips and Resources
The major difference between the ACT and SAT is what the exams test. The SAT tests a student's aptitude, or their ability to perform. In comparison, the ACT looks at what subjects the student has learned in school. Each test has a different structure and covers different subjects. For instance, the ACT has a science section while the SAT does not. Both have a writing section, but the ACT writing section is optional.
The tests also have different scoring systems. The ACT only calculates scores based on the number of correct answers. The SAT deducts points for each wrong answer. In some cases, a student taking the SAT is better off leaving an answer they are unsure about blank, that way will not count for or against them.
Whether a student decides to take the SAT or ACT, they can find plenty of online resources to help them prepare for the test. Resources range from lists of tips to sample test questions. Some online resources help a student decide which test is the better fit for them. Students can decide to take both tests and send the higher school to the schools they apply to.
SAT Test Preparation and Tips
A full practice test from the College Board, which manages the SAT in the United States. Students have the option of taking the sample test online or printing the test and taking it on paper. At the end of the test, students receive their scores. The score is calculated automatically if a student takes the test online. They can score the test themselves if they choose the paper option.
A list of 9 tips from US News and World Reports for students considering taking the SAT. The tips cover all the bases, from deciding whether the SAT is the best test for the student, to what to worry about on the writing section.
Tips from PBS' NOW for scoring well on the SAT. The tips are divided into sections. There is one section of tips for each subject on the test: Math, Reading and Writing. Tips include advice on how to decipher an unfamiliar word on the test and how to go about crafting the essay.
An article from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development on the ways parents can help their children prepare for the writing section of the SAT. Tips include advice on mentally preparing for the writing portion as well as ways to go about writing the essay. While the tips are aimed at parents, students can read and make use of them as well.
An online SAT preparation book. The book contains three chapters, plus an answer key. Each chapter contains an introduction and explanation of the subject covered, followed by sample questions and an explanation of the correct answers.
ACT Test Preparation and Tips
ACT, Inc., the company that administers the ACT, gives a list of simple and straightforward tips. Students can use the tips during the test itself.
Spark Notes details the ways students can perform well on the English section of the ACT. The suggestions walk students through the process of reading and answering each question in the English portion of the test.
Helpful hints for preparing for the ACT from Physics Classroom. The tips focus on the science section.
A sample ACT writing exam from Queensborough Community College. Students can fill in their answers online and check them to see if the answers were correct.
An online sample ACT. Students can choose to take the practice test in all of the subjects or they can choose to focus on only one or two subjects.
The Princeton Review debunks four common myths about the test. Explaining the myths gives students a better idea of what to expect during the test.
A list of tips to help students prepare for the actual test day itself. It provides advice on what to do on the day of the test to get ready and what to do the day and night before. It also gives tips on how to stay calm and focused during the test.
A list of vocabulary words to help students prepare for the SAT. Each word has a definition and part of speech listed next to it. Students can click on the words to view a video flash card that illustrates the definition.
An online SAT preparation resource. Students need to register, but the program is free of charge. The program includes lessons on the test subjects as well as sample tests.
Reviews of several books designed to help students prepare for the ACT. It also includes reviews of books that can boost students' vocabulary for the test.
Information from Northern Michigan University on the benefits of taking the ACT while in 11th grade. It also discusses the advantages of taking the ACT a few times, as scores generally improve.
An article from the NY Times that explains how schools viewed the tests in the past and how they are looked at now. It includes a quick list to help students decide which will work best for them.
An article explaining the various components of the test. It tells students the percentage of the test each section takes up and how much time a student will have for each question during each section.
A new sample question from the ACT every day. Students can input and check their answers to the question. If they put in the wrong answer, they have a chance to go back and try again.