At Education and Testing Solutions, we suggest that the best time for students to take both tests is the summer after they have taken Algebra 2 or in the fall of their 11th grade year, whichever comes first. They should take both tests to see which one they find easier and best suits their skills. The SAT is divided into 4 sections: reading, English, math (without a calculator), and math (with a calculator). This test is scored out of 1600 points. The ACT also has 4 sections: reading, English, math (with a calculator), and science. It is scored out of 36 possible points. Most colleges accept scores from either test but check with each individual college to make sure. Some colleges also ask that students take the additional essay portion of the test.
Once you have baseline scores from the SAT and ACT tests, you will be able to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You may then want to pick one of those tests to really focus on and repeat testing. Or, you may decide to try both tests again. There are many ways for your child to improve his or her scores including websites, study guides, and tutoring. Preparation should not only include studying content but also include test taking strategies that are specific to the ACT or SAT. By spring of the 11th grade year your child should take the test and have scores reported to the colleges they are interested in. The summer before and the fall of their 12th grade year can be used to increase scores if necessary.
If you would like ETS to help your student prepare for the SAT or ACT either this school year or over the summer, please call (843) 810-9202.