A guide to taking the SAT or ACT

The SAT practice book is a great study option for juniors and seniors looking to take the SAT.

Courtesy of Talentnook

The SAT practice book is a great study option for juniors and seniors looking to take the SAT.

It’s that time of the year that tends to be the most stressful for both juniors and seniors. The process of applying to college is mainly centered around standardized tests. Almost every college in the U.S. requires some sort of standardized test as part of their application. Students tend to choose between taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT), depending on which they perform better on. 

The preference of which test to take depends on the student and the format they favor. If you tend to be a better test taker on longer tests, the SAT may suit you better because you get up to about a minute and ten seconds for each question. Whereas, for the ACT, only 49 seconds can be spent on each question with significantly more questions in each of the test sections. The scoring is also different between the two tests which can play a role in someone’s choice on which test they end up taking. 

Seniors differentiate in preference when it comes to picking a test over the other. Many lean towards taking the SAT because they aren’t as strong in the science section, as to math and grammar. The SAT consists of one reading, one writing and language, two math sections: a calculator one and a non-calculator and an optional writing section. The ACT includes English, reading, math and science sections, as well as an optional writing section. 

“I prefer taking the SAT because there’s no science section included; it isn’t my strong suit,” said Edward Mills, senior. 

Some advice seniors give juniors or anyone taking a standardized test is to take a class or get a tutor to help early on because it will benefit them in the long run. 

“I think it’s better to have a tutor because that way you are forced to take time out of your day to study and focus on what you’re doing. It helps you be more prepared,” said Kylee Wakeman, senior. 

Image result for khan academy math
Khan Academy offers lessons and practice tests for all different subjects. It also offers a program for SAT preparation, which includes a series of full tests and personalized practice based on those test results.

Using the SAT or ACT book is also helpful for students doing practice tests or Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a free online website that students can use to study for the SAT and covers math, reading, science and more. 

“I prefer the SAT and I use Khan Academy to help me study. I don’t think a tutor would help,” said Lais Najjar, junior. 

Students score best when they start studying early in their junior year instead of waiting until senior year and cramming tests before college applications are due. 

Research has shown when preparing for a test, getting a good night’s sleep the night before and eating a filling breakfast the morning of boosts students’ test scores because that way they remain focused. 

Juniors will take the PSAT on Oct. 16, which will show them how prepared they are for the SAT and determine the National Merit Scholarships. The next SAT is on Nov. 2, and the next ACT will be on Oct. 26.