Decode the SAT and ACT tests and prep for success -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Decode the SAT and ACT tests and prep for success

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(ARA) - Get good grades, graduate high school, go to your dream college - sounds simple, right? It can be, as long as research and preparation are paired with your hard work and ambition. One of the key ways college admissions staff determines how you stack up to other college-bound hopefuls are standardized test scores, namely the SAT test and the ACT test, along with the other elements of your application package.

Those who score highest on the SAT and ACT tests have a distinct advantage amid tough competition to enter the nation's top colleges and universities. It makes sense to do your homework on the SAT test and the ACT test and learn how to ace them.

SAT or ACT: Which test is right for you?

Ramit Varma, SAT and ACT testing expert and co-founder of Revolution Prep, one of the nation's leading test prep providers, suggests that picking the right test for you will likely result in a higher SAT or ACT test score.

"Hands-on testing experience is a great way to do this," says Varma. "Take full-length SAT and ACT mock exams to see which fits your strengths and learning style better."

Although most colleges and universities will accept either SAT or ACT test scores, there are several differences in the content and format of the tests.

Neither the SAT test nor the ACT test is more challenging than the other. The main difference is that the SAT test is reasoning-based and the ACT test is content-based.

The SAT tests problem-solving strategies and critical thinking in the areas of math, writing and reading. The curriculum is simpler than what's in the ACT test, but presented in a trickier way. A variety of question formats are presented, and there is a guessing penalty. Math accounts for a higher scoring percentage than on the ACT test, and questions increase in difficulty throughout most sections.

The ACT tests subject-specific knowledge. It features English, reading, science, writing and math sections, including trigonometry. The ACT test is entirely multiple-choice. There is no guessing penalty, and questions of varying difficulty levels are mixed together within test sections.

Practice makes perfect: Choose a test prep option that will maximize your potential

"Today, there are many free and low-cost online and offline test prep options that can help improve your SAT or ACT score," says Varma.

Here are helpful tips and hints to access some of these resources:
* The makers of the SAT and ACT offer students free sample test questions, full mock exams and study guides that you can access anytime via the Web.
* Consult with your school counselor to find out if mock exams are being offered at your school or a nearby location. Often these practice tests are free and held in a real test-taking environment.
* For more in-depth test prep, educational service providers like Revolution Prep offer SAT and ACT test prep classes, online courses and private tutoring year-round, giving students freedom of choice and convenience, along with valuable, lifelong learning skills.

If financial challenges are what's getting in the way of your desire for comprehensive SAT or ACT test prep, help is out there. Revolution Prep offers SAT and ACT test prep course scholarships to students in need.

Now that you have a better idea of what the SAT test and ACT test are all about, make your choice and add upcoming SAT and ACT test dates as well as a prep plan to your pre-college to-do list. It's never too early to start getting ready for one of life's biggest milestones. For more information, go to

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