The SAT and ACT College Entrance examinations are the standard aptitude tests used for College entrance.
The ACT test has become the more popular test nationally although the SAT retains its popularity in the mid-Atlantic states. Effective March 2016 the SAT received a major revision and now more closely aligns with the ACT, for example, the penalty for an incorrect answer has been eliminated and the Essay portion is now separate and optional.
The results from either test are accepted by most colleges today so it comes down to the comfort level of the student and the perceived academic strengths/weaknesses as to which test to take.
There are some who describe the differences between the tests as:
The ACT tests the student’s knowledge while the SAT tests the student’s USE of knowledge-Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.
If one reviews the contents of each test objectively, a strong argument could be made that they BOTH test Critical Thinking/Problem Solving using different formats, different scoring scales, and in somewhat different subject areas.
Here are some of the differences between the ACT and the Revised SAT tests:
- The ACT Essay is now 40 minutes long; the SAT Essay is now 50 minutes in length. Both are optional and depending on the College, might actually be required as part of their application process.
- The ACT includes a Science Reasoning test, The SAT does not.
- The ACT Math section is singular and contains a few Trigonometry questions, The SAT does not.
- The SAT Math component consists of 2 sections, one where a calculator is allowed, one where its use is prohibited
So which test should a student take? Probably both!! They are both Aptitude tests, they are both important components of a college application. Despite the differences it’s not uncommon for students to score approximately in the same range regardless of the test taken although it’s not easy to compare results in all sections. There are online charts available that compare scores and most colleges know the equivalent scores.
It really does come down to personal choices, the student’s comfort level, and even what part of the country one lives. In the Middle Atlantic region, the majority of students initially take the PSAT test (Preliminary SAT) which the high schools provide. This test was revised in the Fall of 2015 to align with the revised SAT and is given to students in their freshman, sophomore, and/or junior school years. Thus these students are most familiar with the SAT format. In other parts of the country, schools provide both the PSAT and the ACT Plan, which is equivalent to the PSAT, or just the ACT Plan.
Ultimately it’s about results, comfort level, and personal choice. In many cases, students take both tests and submit the best results to the Colleges of their choice. Hopefully they are accepted and continue on the path to a successful college experience!!
NOTE: Support for the redesigned tests has been incorporated into our programs as the information from the College Board became available, which started with the Fall 2015 PSAT and March 2016 SAT tests. Click on the blue text links for more information on the College Board website.
Mathematics Tutoring, Coaching and Support
Math is a subject that is probably the best example of “Building Block” type learning in school. Math tutoring and support at Chester Tutoring NJ is one of our key programs. Although there have been and currently are various methods used to introduce and develop mastery of the basic Math skills, “New Math”, Singapore Math are a couple that come to mind, ultimately students in grade school need to master the fundamental processes by 7th grade in order to succeed in advanced Math subjects such as Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, etc.
Additionally fundamental math skills are present in everyday life and become increasingly important as we enter the working world and handle family matters.
Parents of grade and high school students understandably tend to give their children the benefit of the doubt when told “I know what I’m doing” only to see the results continue to fall below expectations. Eventually the student loses confidence and other subjects begin to suffer. It is therefore so important to address these math issues early in the school year to minimize the potential impact on the student as the school year progresses.
Summer is also a good time to catch up or preview upcoming courses since there are no other distractions and students can get more personalized attention to processes that might not seem entirely clear to them from the previous year(s).
At Chester Tutoring we have helped many students, from grade school through high school, occasionally even college, overcome gaps in their understanding of the various skill sets. We have also helped students prepare for private school entrance tests, NJASK, and college entrance examinations.
We offer personalized individual and small group support, using the student’s books and materials whenever possible for continuity, to fill those gaps and support them as they progress in the year. This is especially true at the grade school level where the lack of mastery becomes a major roadblock to the learning of future skill sets.
We are here at Chester Tutoring NJ ready to provide math tutoring and support!
The SAT/ACT Tests and Preparation
These assessment tests represent the two major college entrance examinations administered to high school students today. Colleges accept the results from either test since the ACT has gained in usage by many more states and is currently the more popular test. SAT/ACT test preparation at Chester Tutoring NJ is another key program we provide to students.
The PSAT and the comparable ACT PLAN are used by High Schools as preliminary evaluation tests in freshman and sophomore years and as part of the evaluation for National Merit Scholarships in the junior year of high school.
Some colleges also require results from SAT Subject Tests depending on the major chosen by the student.
Both the SAT and the ACT tests are timed aptitude tests that cover retained skills in specific areas.
The SAT tests Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in the areas of Reading Comprehension, Writing and Language, and Mathematics up to and including Algebra II. The scoring range is 200-800 per section, 2 major sections in total for a maximum of 1600. The Essay writing is now optional and a separate score.
The ACT is a different test in that it is considered by some a content based test and therefore covers primarily Subject Knowledge. In reality there are components of the ACT that do test Critical Thinking. The subjects covered include English (Grammar, Standard Usage, Editing), Mathematics including a few Trigonometry questions, Reading Comprehension, and Science Reasoning. An Essay is optional and not part of the composite scoring. The scoring for the ACT per section is 0-36, a total of 4 sections, and simply uses the mean average of all sections combined for the composite score.
Both tests are an important part of a college application however the results are only one of several factors considered for acceptance. “Super Scoring”, SAT II test results, target test scores, additional essays are some examples of requirements managed locally by each college/university as part of its acceptance requirements.
From our experience, personalized SAT/ACT Test practice and review are beneficial to all students in better understanding and maximizing these skills tests. At Chester Tutoring we offer both individual and small group (2-4 students) support to the students. Our programs range from overviews, individual section subject reviews, combinations of specific sections, to comprehensive practice, testing and review. Strategies and management of the tests are very important components of our programs.
The results ultimately achieved by the students are based however on the level of their educational background, in combination with their commitment to the process. The earlier a student begins to prepare for these tests, for example as early as 8th or 9th grade, the likelihood is that the results will better reflect the level of his or her understanding of the subjects included in the tests, consistent with the academic level of their school program.
For further information or help with SAT/ACT Test Preparation in Chester NJ, please call or email us at your convenience. Thank You!!
NOTE: Support for the redesigned tests has been incorporated into our programs as the information from the College Board became available, starting with the Fall 2015 PSAT and March 2016 SAT tests. Click on the blue text links for more information on the College Board website.