The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT) are some of the most dreaded standardized tests of a student’s high school career. Testing a variety of knowledge, the ACT and SAT assess a student’s college readiness based on skills attained in reading, writing, math and science. While the task of completing these tests with a high score seems daunting, with studying and continued learning, they become easier.
“Going into the SAT the first time I didn’t do everything I should have necessarily to prepare.” said senior Samantha Sandusky, “I ended up having to spend more money to take it a second or third time.”
SAT combines a student’s scores from both the Math and English sections -and essay if taken- to reach a final overall score ranging from 0-1600. The ACT averages the student’s scores from each section ranging from 0-36. While not all schools require scores from both the ACT and SAT, some schools require a minimum score from an individual assessment.
“They don’t take off points for wrong answers.” said senior Caroline Epperson “Don’t rush answering questions, instead in the last minute bubble one letter for all the questions you still haven’t answered.”
Information about test dates and registration deadlines can be found in the timeline above. Included as well are college application deadlines for some universities in Texas.
Additionally, study options in the forms of practice books, which include practice assessments and study material, as well as educational websites, Khan Academy and ACT Academy are offered for both the SAT and ACT. Khan Academy partners with the College Board to take weaknesses from student’s previous SAT scores and strengthen them through practice test questions and lessons. Varsity Tutors offers free SAT subject and practice tests that allow a student to scale their results on the real SAT. Study books while not free, offer a general overview of test content and include some practice tests. Several helpful study guide books and other resources are shown below.
“Take your time with the practice tests as well,” Epperson said “I did better overall when I worked my way through the tests slowly”.
Starting testing in either the student’s junior year or summer before their senior year, allows time for the student to retake the test and improve their score. Some colleges offer automatic admission once a certain score is achieved as well as greater financial aid opportunities. In addition a higher SAT and ACT score can give students priority for certain scholarships relating to academic achievement.
“Even though my rank is higher, spending my time getting a better test score gives me the opportunity to earn more scholarships” said Sandusky.
Listed below are some score requirements for automatic admission into universities in Texas.*
University of North Texas- 1030 SAT and 20 ACT
Texas Tech University- 1180 SAT and 24 ACT
Texas State University- 1000 SAT and 20 ACT
Texas A&M University- 1360 SAT and 30 ACT
University of Texas at Arlington- no minimums
* according to the top 25% of class
“Give yourself time to take the test 2-3 times.” said senior, Madison Galer “It’s less stressful when you don’t have to rush to keep up with deadlines”.