ACT VS SAT details
Date sent: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 22:47:06 +0000
From: "Donna Garner" (by way of Jimmy Kilpatrick )
Subject: Comparison Between ACT and SAT
I have been doing some checking on the ACT and SAT tests and have obtained
preparation booklets for both tests. I will share with you some of the
information from these booklets.
"ACT Assessment -- 1998-99"
The ACT is considered to be more curriculum-based. It has no analogies on
it and has approximately 1/4 math-related questions. On the ACT it is to
a students' advantage to answer every question even if he must guess.
On the ACT English Test (timed--45 minutes), punctuation, grammar/usage,
and sentence structure are tested. The ACT also tests rhetorical skills
such as strategy, organization, and style. "Spelling, vocabulary, and
rote recall of rules of grammar are not tested." Under the
Usage/Mechanics section, punctuation is 13%, basic grammar and usage is
16%, sentence structure is 24%, strategy (choosing the appropriate
expressions based upon audience and purpose; judging the effect of
adding/revising/deleting supporting material; and choosing effective
opening, transitional, and closing sentences) is 16%, organization is
15%, and style is 16%.
Three scores are reported for the ACT English Test: a total based on all
75 questions, a subscore in Usage/Mechanics (40 questions) and a subscore
in Rhetorical Skills (35 questions.)
The ACT Mathematics Test (timed--60 minutes) permits students to use
calculators. The ACT covers pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate
algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry.
Four scores are reported on the ACT Mathematics Test: a total score based
on all 60 questions, a subscore in Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra (24
questions), a subscore in Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry (18
questions), and a subscore in Plane Geometry/Trigonometry (18 questions.)
The ACT Reading Test (timed -- 35 minutes) covers four types of reading
selections: social studies, natural sciences, prose fiction, and
humanities. A subscore in Social Studies/Sciences is based on questions
in social studies and natural sciences sections, and a subscore in
Arts/Literature is based on prose fiction and humanities sections.
The ACT Reading Test provides scores on all 40 questions, a subscore in
Social Studies/Sciences reading skills (20 questions), and a subscore in
Arts/Literature reading skills (20 questions).
The ACT has a Science Reasoning Test (timed -- 35 minutes) which includes
biology, chemistry, physics, and earth/space sciences. Of the Science
Reasoning Test, data representation is 38%, research summaries is 45%, and
conflicting viewpoints is 17%.
One score (40 questions) is reported for the ACT Science Reasoning Test.
Samples of ACT questions and explanations can be viewed at
http://www.act.org. or a person can call 319-337-1270. The name of the
booklet I have used in this article is "Preparing for the ACT Assessment"
which is published by ACT.
"SAT I: Reasoning Test -- 1998-99"
The SAT I: Reasoning Test covers verbal and mathematical reasoning
abilities and is said to be approximately 1/2 math. Many schools which are
out-of-state require students to take the SAT.
The SAT Verbal Section tests a student's ability to understand and analyze
what he reads, recognize relationships between parts of a sentence, and
see relationships between pairs of words. On the SAT I, there are 19
analogy questions, 19 sentence completion questions, and 40 critical
The SAT Math Section requires students to solve problems involving
arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Calculators may be used. Some questions
do not include answer choices. The SAT I contains 35 questions which are
the standard five-choice multiple choice questions, 15 questions that are
four-choice quantitative comparison questions, and 10 questions that are
student-produced response questions.
The SAT lasts three hours. A student receives two scores -- one for the
verbal section and one for the math section. The scores range from 200 to
800 on each of the two sections. So that a student can see how he did on
each part of the test, the verbal score is broken down into three types of
questions: analogies, sentence completions, and critical reading. The
math is broken down into two areas: arithmetic/algebraic reasoning and
The SAT also has a section which does not count toward a student's score
but provides the College Board with a test bank.
The SAT questions generally get more difficult as the test progresses;
therefore, it is recommended that a student answer the easy questions
first. For math questions that are not multiple-choice, a person does not
lose any points for a wrong answer.
SAT preparation materials can be found at http://www.collegeboard.org or
call 1-800-728-7267. The booklet I used in preparing this article is
called "Taking the SAT I: Reasoning Test" published by The College Board.
I hope this information is helpful.
Material forwarded by: Jimmy Kilpatrick
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