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A comparison of test options...
The decisions you make regarding advanced preparation are likely to significantly affect potential test results...
The Reading Comprehension  aspect of the SAT & ACT Tests -- Your choices!



:  THE ACT test has one reading section of 40 questions.  Students are given 35 minutes to complete the entire section.  However, because there are always four reading selections, with 10 questions each, it is easy to stay on target with time.

ADDITIONALLY -- Please note: There is a science section, which is basically a reading comprehension sectionwith extensive graph and chart interpretation,  The science passage likewise has 40 questions over a 35 minute timeframe, which is fairly fast given the technical nature of the readings and charts.


FACTS: This is a positive point test. Student receives credit for all questions answered correctly, no deductions for any wrong answers. 

-- The basic reading segment of the test always has one each selection of prose fiction, social science, humanities, natural science.

-- The science portion of the test requires some scientific background in biology, chemistry and physics in order to comprehend passages.

DOWNSIDES/Considerations Preparation for this test does not prepare the student for taking the October PSAT.  If your student is a consistently high tester (90th percentiles or higher) , he or she will probably still want to prepare for the PSAT, which is the qualifier for National Merit Scholars, and will be in the SAT new format.

-- If processing speed affects your student, you should be aware that this test requires faster processing, even at average testing goals.
-- Students must stay focused in one area for a longer period of time, breaking up a larger portion of the test into sub-portions and managing throughout to optimize performance.  However, the balance of similarly sized smaller passages makes time management easier in these portions of the test.
-- ACT approves test accommodations only one test at a time, complicating scheduling and test site selection


FORMAT:  The reading portion of the test is made up one 52 Question section for which the student is given 65 minutes.    A simple comparison between the ACT & SAT would lead one to believe that the SAT is "easier" since the student is given more time to complete fewer questions.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.   The reading selections are subtle, requiring students to use greater inference skills, and are organized in a manner which is less intuitively obvious.  Subsections include Science, graphs, and rhetoric in a variety of sizes, making preparedness in terms of content and timing less obvious.

-- There are multi-staged questions (that is, in order to get question #2 or #3 correct, one must first get question #1 correct), and statistical theory and application (knowing what a standard deviation is, for example). 


DOWNSIDES / Considerations:

CONSIDERATIONS:  If you are preparing for this test, your student will be more ready for taking the PSAT.  So, if your student is a consistently high tester (90th percentiles or higher) , he or she will want this preparation for the PSAT, which is in the SAT new format.

Although the new SAT does not have a science section, the examples being touted, at present, include a smattering of graph materials -- not at the same level of complexity of those on the ACT science portion, but a significant change from the "OLD" Sat.











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