College Admission Tests

The letters within the acronyms ACT and SAT represent American College Testing (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Both tests are designed to measure a student's level of knowledge in basic areas such as math, science, English, and social studies. Check with your counselor to determine which test the college requires for admissions. The following information is taken from the ACT and SAT websites.

ACT

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test. ACT results are accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S.

The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing).
 
The ACT is administered on six test dates within the United States, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada—September, October, December, February, April, and June. In other locations, the ACT is administered on all of the above dates except September.
The basic registration fee includes score reports for up to four college choices, if you list valid codes when you register.
 
You can access the ACT website and free practice tools here: www.act.org
 

SAT

The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math - subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

Taking the SAT is the first step in finding the right college for you - the place where you can further develop your skills and pursue your passions. But SAT scores are just one of many factors that colleges consider when making their admission decisions. High school grades are also very important. In fact, the combination of high school grades and SAT scores is the best predictor of your academic success in college.

The SAT doesn’t test logic or abstract reasoning. It tests the skills you’re learning in school: reading, writing and math. Your knowledge and skills in these subjects are important for success in college and throughout your life.

  • The critical reading section includes reading passages and sentence completions.

  • The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage.

  • The mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.
     

The best way to get ready for the SAT is to take challenging courses, study hard, and read and write in and outside of the classroom.

Studies suggest that cramming and short-term prep can’t substitute for hard work in school, but it’s certainly a good idea for you to become familiar and comfortable with the test format and question types.

You can access the SAT website and free practice tools here: www.collegeboard.org

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