Before your child can become a college student and earn a degree, they need to take several entrance exams, namely the SAT and ACT.
These are standardized exams used to assess their preparedness for college. While both of these exams have the same purpose, SAT and ACT prep courses work differently because these exams have different complexity, length, and coverage.
SAT 101: Pros And Cons
The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) was introduced in 1926 and is now used for college admissions all over the United States. This test takes about four hours to accomplish (including the essay) and contains questions on English, history, mathematics, language, and science. The SAT is a multiple-choice test, scored between 400 – 1600.
To properly nurture your child and help them better understand the SAT, it’s best if you consider its pros and cons.
Learnable test. Unlike the exams given during high school, the SAT is a learnable test that doesn’t require memorization.
Succeeding in the SAT requires a concrete study plan for your child to better understand the sections covered.
Practice ground for other tests. When your child graduates from college and decides to proceed for post-graduate studies, taking the SAT will serve as an excellent testing ground.
After taking the SAT, preparing and studying for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), LSAT (Law School Admission Test), or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) in the future will become a breeze.
Cultural differences. Studies have proven that the student’s family income and their SAT scores are interlinked. Students who belong to a family who earns below the poverty line income earn lower SAT scores compared to wealthier students.
This can result in socio-economic divisions in college admissions and can continue even when the students start their college life. Over time, the SAT can become a platform that’ll only divide classes.
Over-reliance on the SAT. Aside from being a requirement in college admissions, the SAT is now utilized to assess a student’s qualification for scholarships and school rankings. Although helpful for students who academically excel, the SAT can become a disadvantage for students who demonstrate talents and skills that aren’t covered in the SAT.
Over-reliance on the SAT can hinder a student’s chance to enjoy a scholarship or better rankings.
ACT 101: Pros And Cons
The American College Testing (ACT) is used by all four-year colleges and universities in different areas in the United States. The ACT is both a computer-based and paper-based standardized test used for college admissions. This test was introduced in 1959 and aims to assess an incoming student’s skills in English, math, reading, science, and writing.
The scores earned from each of these sections can assess the student’s readiness on entry-level college courses, such as English, biology, humanities, and algebra.
Listed below are the pros and cons associated with the ACT:
Questions are presented in a straightforward manner. The questions in the ACT use simpler words, allowing you to understand the questions after reading it for the first time.
How the questions are presented will make it easier for your child to come up with the right answers.
Comes with Interest Inventory. Most colleges and universities provide Interest Inventory to students who’ll take the ACT.
The ACT Interest Inventory aims to identify relevant career options based on your skills and personal preferences. This tool will help your child choose a suitable college degree.
Advanced math questions. The ACT is about three hours long and contains 60 advanced math questions. Because ACT includes questions on algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, taking it for three hours might not be enough.
Your child will have to compute to provide the correct answers to these equations and answer other sections as well.
Some subjects can drag the student’s total score. To compute for your overall ACT score, the score from English, math, reading, and science tests will be added and divided by four. The total will be rounded off to the nearest whole number. This scoring structure won’t allow students to showcase their abilities in certain sections.
For example, if a student earns a high score on the math section, a high overall ACT score isn’t guaranteed, especially if the student performs poorly on the other sections of the test. A low score on the science section can pull down a student’s exemplary performance on math.
Generally, an incoming college student will either take the SAT or ACT for their college exams. But, more college students are now choosing to take both to assess their performance in each exam and to ensure that they can meet the requirements of their preferred college or university.
Regardless of the number of exams your child wants to take, preparation is always key. The more time and effort they spend studying, the higher the chance they’ll have in getting a good score.