The times have changed quite a bit over the years in the college application process. More than a decade has passed since the Standardized Aptitude Test (SAT) was switched from 1,600 to 2,400 points due to the addition of an obligatory essay writing section at the end. As of this year, the exam is once again out of 1,600 points and the essay is now optional. The cyclical adaptations to standardized testings has led to the rise of the one on one tutor. NYC set the ball rolling and the trend is quickly spreading to other parts of the country.
Another big change in the system pertains to the American College Test (ACT), which was first invented in 1959 and has historically been a widely unrecognized exam by most institutions. However, in 2011, for the first time in history, the ACT surpassed the SAT in the number of students who took it. Now, in 2016, the two exams are by most colleges and universities throughout the nation seen as equals.
The two exams are not interchangeable, however. To this day they remain vastly different and students are known to excel and feel challenged by both, depending on their personal strengths and interests. Knowing the difference between the two can be a determinant of the next four years, and at that, the rest of your child’s life. Here’s what you should know about the two as of 2016, so you and your child can decide together on which exam will benefit her or him most.
Cost: As mentioned, the SAT now has an optional essay section, and the exams cost varies depending on whether you elect to write it. With the essay, SAT costs $56.50. Without it, $43. The ACT also has an optional writing section. With the essay, the ACT will cost you $56.50. Without it, $39.50. So in general, the two exams are practically the same as far expenses are concerned. So this should not play a role in your decision.
Scoring: The SAT has jumped back and forth over the years between a maximum of 1,600 and 2,400 points. It also, in the past, has penalized test takers for guessing, leading tutors to encourage students to leave questions blank if they feel uncertain. However that has been adjusted in the latest version, released by College Board this year. In the new version, students no longer are penalized for incorrect answers. The ACT, unlike the SAT, has remained consistent for 30 years in both its content as well as its scoring, which is measured on a scale of 1 to 36.
Content: One large difference that remains between the two is that the ACT has a science section and the SAT does not. It is designed to test critical thinking skills more so than your knowledge of any particular field of science. Other than that, the sections between the two are rather similar. Both have math, reading comprehension, and some form of language skills. As of the latest version of the SAT, the two have allegedly become more similar than in the past, as the SAT is now intended to better reflect students’ in-class curriculums. However, due to the fact that the new version is still fresh, many feel more comfortable taking an exam that is known for its consistency, which of course is the ACT.
Both tests are tough but both are doable, especially with the proper guidance. If you or your child is applying for college and would like some practice with a professional, contact Big Apple Tutoring at 212-479-0830 to set up an appoint with a one on one tutor. NYC has the best tutoring agencies in the country so you should rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.