As the ACT has come into its own over the past 10-20 years as a fully recognized college admissions test alongside the SAT, students increasingly weigh both of these exams to assess which one may be better suited for them, sometimes opting for both. Preferences (and rumors) abound, of course: “There are too many trick questions on the SAT math!” or “I'd take the ACT, but the science section is a deal-breaker!” While these sentiments may (or may not) be true, depending on the student, what's certainly true is that they contribute heavily towards apprehension over which test to take! There is, however, one section that is nearly identical on each test, and offers a way to kill two birds with one stone in your college admission exam prep. That's the grammar/rhetoric section, referred to as the “English” section in the ACT, and the “Writing and Language” section on the SAT. CollegeXpress offers an in-depth analysis of the similarities and differences between the two tests.Read More
ACT & SAT Prep and College Admissions Blog
Understanding how the ACT is scored is one of the most fundamental aspects of taking the test. Before even stepping foot into the classroom on test day, knowing the scoring for the ACT can help you to outline your studying and set realistic score goals as you are planning for the big day. Let’s dive into our guide for ACT scoring and what you should know right now:Read More
Reading four lengthy passages and answering 40 questions in a short timespan of 35 minutes can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the ACT Reading section and the many tricks that the ACT writers try to confuse test-takers with. However, a little review and practice of a few simple test-taking strategies will give you the skills and confidence necessary to tackle the ACT Reading section.Read More
The ACT Science section has a rather misleading name. Perhaps a better name would be the ACT Reading Section Part 2: Science Concepts. The exam requires no prior knowledge of scientific content or concepts. Instead, students are required to interpret data graphs, what the scientific method is and how scientific theories disagree from each other. These are concepts taught in every high school in the country. The ACT is a standardized exam that must provide a level playing field for all applicants, from all demographics across the United States. As such, it may be comforting to know that advanced science concepts such as DNA transcription and translation or the Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium won’t be tested. To succeed on this portion of the exam, exposure to ACT Science questions and practice solving them is critical. The following is an important tip to succeeding on the ACT science section:Read More
To begin, it’s helpful to ask yourself one basic question: am I fundamentally comfortable using online materials or not? There are many web-sites and “apps” available to help you prepare for the ACT. But for some people, plain old paper and pencil is still their preferred way to learn. I tend to encourage students to at least consider an online approach, since it’s generally very convenient and because many online resources are “adaptive,” meaning they give you suggested practice content based on how you’ve performed on previous practice problems to build on your strengths and address your weaknesses. But, if an online approach just isn’t for you, don’t force it.Read More
Writing an essay in 40 minutes can be a daunting task. The ACT graders expect you to write a well-developed, coherent essay about a topic that you may not be familiar with. However, knowing more about the ACT Writing section, and what graders are looking for can help you to prepare for this task effectively.Read More
Strategy is an intrinsic part of preparing for standardized tests. Without the proper strategies even the most advanced students find themselves performing below their full potential.
Here are a few proven test taking strategies that will take you a long way in your quest for a high score, regardless of the test you’re taking.Read More
In this post we'll share 8 strategies for improving your score on the ACT-Math section. We have worked with hundreds of students, and these ideas are almost always helpful.These strategies are written in a “top 8” list format, but they aren’t necessarily in order. Depending on the student, any given strategy might be more or less effective.Read More
In a recent guest post for the College Solution, we showed how Indiana University has a simple automatic scholarship system to attract top students that might otherwise choose more highly ranked schools. This system is based on an assessment of GPA and ACT score. For certain students, it provides an automatic $11,000 per year scholarship, making IU much more affordable than it otherwise would be. So, I argued that, even if you already have a high ACT score, it could make sense to hire an ACT tutor and try to squeeze out another point, which would bump you into the $11,000 automatic scholarship range, and may impact which school you choose to attend.
In this post, with the implications of part 1 in mind (i.e., significant reduction in the cost of attending IU) I’ll illustrate the potential decision faced by a high school senior from Illinois considering five schools: