All about the ACT

February 26, 2013

By Salma Mahmoud

Standardized testing: The two words that can make almost every high school student in the nation cringe with dread and intimidation. Unfortunately, very few can find a way around it and are pushed into one of two college entrance exams: the SAT or the ACT.

Salma Mahmoud Skyline High School

Salma Mahmoud
Skyline High School

First things first — test breakdown. The ACT includes English, math, reading and science, all taken in “chunks” rather than being broken into subsections. For example, after you finish the entire English section, you move on to the entire math section. You don’t have to jump around between subjects.

Also note that the ACT includes a science section while the SAT does not. However, the science subsection is not meant to test your knowledge of photosynthesis or balancing chemical equations. Rather, it is there to test your reading and reasoning skills using scientific concepts.

In addition, the writing section on the ACT is optional, but required by many schools. Therefore, the score you receive on the 30-minute writing test is not factored into your composite score.

If you’re a math enthusiast, the ACT may be a better option for you. The ACT covers concepts from basic arithmetic, “Algebra 1,” “Algebra 2” and trigonometry. The SAT, on the other hand, only goes up to “Algebra 2.”

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