Juniors, I know you are already constantly hearing this, but this is your most important year of high school. You need to maintain a high GPA, get involved in lots of extracurricular activities, but also remember you need to achieve high test scores.
The SAT and ACT are slightly different tests, but when applying to college most schools will need you to send your scores from one of these tests unless the school is test optional. The SAT and ACT vary slightly specifically regarding the time limit, the actual material that is tested and the scoring system. The SAT clocks in around three hours without the essay whereas the ACT is only two hours and 55 minutes without the essay. Five minutes may not seem like a long time, but when it comes to testing it could really help or hurt your score. Additionally, the SAT (reading, writing and language and math) has three sections while the ACT has four (english, math, reading and science).
The SAT and ACT are scored on two different grading scales. The SAT ranges from a score of 400 to 1600 whereas the ACT ranges from a score of one to 36. In order to know which test best suits your abilities, it is advised to take a diagnostic test to determine the answer. “When I took a diagnostic for both tests, the ACT suited my strengths better,” senior Zack Lechner said.
The SAT and ACT tend to be offered every other month in a variety of different locations. Every so often, this school is one of the testing locations. People should make sure they register early because many of the testing locations fill up quickly and it would be ideal to go to the nearest testing location.
After you decide which test is best for you and which location is the most ideal, it is important to start studying. To achieve high scores on these tests, it is important that you are taking multiple mock tests to prepare yourself on the timing and questions that will be given. A large number of students go to tutors from companies such as Prep1on1 and Potomac Oak Tutoring for extra help with preparing for the tests. “They are very helpful and resourceful,” senior Lindsay Ross said.
Overall, it is understandable that you may feel overwhelmed and scared, but remember there are lots of people who can help you through the process. Your parents, seniors who have already taken either test, tutors and staff at the school are all willing to help you in any way. Whether you need help comprehending a specific subject or just need someone to talk to these people are all available. “[This process may sound] scary but it is important and everyone gets through it, and you will too,” senior Ashley Pitt said.