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Comparative Features of the ACT and SAT 2016–2017
The ACT® Test (ACT)
SAT® (College Board)
• $62 w/ essay
• Without essay $46
• $60 w/ essay
• Without essay $46
Designed to measure academic achievement in:
Designed to measure:
• Reading and writing
• The essay
|Accepted for University Admission||The ACT is accepted by all colleges and universities in the United States and more than 225 other universities around the world.||Accepted by all US colleges.|
|US High School Graduates Tested in 2015|
ACT Mathematics Test (60 items, 60 minutes)
Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra (35–45%)
Intermediate Algebra and Coord. Geometry (30–40%) Plane Geometry and Trigonometry (25–35%)
ACT Reading Test (40 items, 35 minutes)
Arts and Literature
• Literary Narrative or Prose Fiction (25%)
• Humanities (25%) (art history, art, music, philosophy, theater,
architecture, dance, religion/ethics, literary criticism)
Social Studies and Natural Sciences (25%, 25%)
• History, Political Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical
ACT English Test (75 items, 45 minutes)
• Punctuation (10–15%)
• Basic Grammar and Usage (15–20%)
• Sentence Structure (20–25%) Rhetorical Skills
• Strategy (15–20%)
• Style (15–20%)
• Organization (10–15%)
ACT Science Test (40 items, 35 minutes)
Interpretation analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills in Biology, Earth/Space Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics
• Data Representation (30–40%)
• Research Summaries (45–55%)
• Conflicting Viewpoints (15–20%)
ACT Writing Test (optional) (1 prompt, 40 minutes)
Measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses. Consists of one 40-minute essay.
SAT Mathematics (Total 58 items, 80 minutes)
Calculator Portion (38 items, 55 Minutes) Multiple-Choice 79%, Grid-In 21%
• Heart of Algebra (29%)
• Problem Solving and Data Analysis (45%)
• Passport to Advanced Math (18%)
• Other Topics (8%)
No-Calculator Portion (20 items with 25 minutes) Multiple-Choice 75%, Grid-In 25%
• Heart of Algebra (40%)
• Passport to Advanced Math (45%)
• Other Topics (15%)
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
Reading Test (52 items, 65 minutes)
• US and World Literature (20%)
• History/Social Studies (40%)
• Science (40%)
Writing and Language Test (44 items, 35 Minutes)
• Careers (25%)
• History/Social Studies (25%)
• Humanities (25%)
• Science (25%)
No Science Test
Note: Reading subject test is constructed of 40% science and the Writing and Language subject test is constructed of 25% science.
SAT Essay (optional) (1 task, 50 minutes)
Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text.
|Method of Scoring||Scores based on number of right answers. No penalty for incorrect answers.||Scores based on number of right answers. No penalty for incorrect answers.|
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The Preliminary SAT ® /National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a co-sponsored program by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) . It is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test™. If they qualify, Juniors are eligible to enter the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.
The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills, which you have developed over many years.
This test doesn’t require you to recall specific facts from your classes.
The most common reasons for taking the test are:
To receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study.
You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
- To help prepare yu for the SAT by familiarizing yourself with the kinds of questions and directions you will see on the SAT.
- To see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
- To enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11).
- To receive information from colleges when you check “yes” to Student Search Service.
What’s on the Test?
The whole test requires two hours and 10 minutes. The PSAT/NMSQT includes five sections:
- Two 25-minute critical reading sections
- Two 25-minute math sections
- One 30-minute writing skills section
Critical Reading : Two 25 minute critical reading sections = 48 questions
- 13 sentence completions
- 35 critical reading quesitons
- Math: Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions
- 28 mulitple choice math questions
- 10 student-produced responses or grid-ins
Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. Students should have basic knowledge of 4 math categories:
- Numbers and operations
- Algebra and Functions (but not 3 rd yearl level math that may appear on the new SAT)
- Geometry and Measurement
- Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probality
Writing Skills: One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions
- 14 Identifying sentence errors
- 20 Improving sentences
- 5 Improving paragraph questions
These multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student’s ability to express ideas effectively in
standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND RECOGNITION
By taking the PSAT/NMSQT , you may qualify to enter the competitions for prestigious scholarships and participate in recognition programs. As co-sponsor of the PSAT/NMSQT, NMSC receives all students’ scores.
If you do not want your scores released to other recognition programs, contact them.
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC)
Students in the eleventh grade of high school enter NMSC competitions by taking the PSAT/NMSQT, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.4 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and/or participation requirements. NMSC uses the Selection Index score (CR + M + W) on the PSAT/NMSQT as an initial screen of program entrants and to designate groups of students to be honored in the competitions it conducts. For more information about NMSC, visit www.nationalmerit.org .
National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP)
The College Board’s NHRP was initiated in 1983 to identify outstanding Hispanic high school students and to share information about these academically well-prepared students with subscribing colleges and universities. In order to be eligible, students must be at least one-quarter Hispanic. Each year the NHRP identifies approximately 3,300 of the highest scoring students from a nationwide total of 124,000 high school juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT and designated themselves as Hispanic, as well as approximately 125 of the top scoring PAA students from Puerto Rico. For more information about NHRP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 626-9795.
NHRP Eligibility Requirements
Qualification for recognition is based on the student’s combined critical reading, mathematics, and writing skill scores on the PSAT/NMSQT when taken in the eleventh grade of high school. PSAT/NMSQT score cut-offs vary each year by state. Students must also self-identify themselves as Hispanic on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet. A minimum grade point average (GPA) is established for the program and academic information is requested directly from the high schools.
To qualify for this program, the student must be at least one-quarter Hispanic, according to the following definition: A person of Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish cultures or origins. For purposes of this program, this does not include persons from Brazil or Portuguese culture/origin, or persons from the Philippines. Hispanic is an ethnic category not a racial category and Hispanics may be of any race.
NHRP Dates and DeadlinesOctober: High School juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT and self-identify as Hispanic on the answer sheet.
National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS)
The NSSFNS offers a free college advisory and referral service for students who plan to attend two-year or four-year colleges. Scores are sent for students in eleventh grade who indicate that they are African American. (Note: This program is not conducted by NMSC.)
For more information, write to:
National Scholarship Service
980 Martin Luther King Drive, SW, PO Box 11409
Atlanta, GA 30310
The Telluride Association offers scholarships to gifted juniors for summer seminars in the humanities and social sciences. (This program is not conducted by NMSC.) For more information, visit www.tellurideassociation.org or write to:
217 West Avenue
Ithaca, NY 1485