Sooner or later, most high schoolers will have to sit for either the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and/or ACT (American College Testing) tests. These tests are among the criteria colleges and universities use in selecting prospective incoming students; they can also serve as part of scholarship award factors. Hence, it behooves students to score as well as they possibly can on these tests.
The article, “Surviving the Math SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test),” offers some suggestions for handling math questions on the test. It addresses tried and true ways of improving chances for “guessing” on the test; ways of solving and checking answers to math problems; and keeping track of those elusive minus signs. Many of these apply to the ACT math test, too.
However, there is another aspect of the tests that has to be considered, as well.
Some think questions are easier on tests given on certain test dates. I haven’t seen this by reviewing any of the tests. It does, however, offer students a false sense of security.
A more meaningful approach, especially for students taking the SAT and/or ACT multiple times, is to order out complete test scoring. For the SAT, it’s called the “Question and Answer Service” (or “Verifying Your Scores”). For eighteen dollars ($18) students receive a copy of their test, their answers and correct answers for the complete test.
For the ACT test, a similar option is called “Requesting (Ordering) a Copy of Your Test Questions and Answers” or, “Test Information Release Service.” This service costs nineteen dollars ($19).
Having an actual SAT / ACT test on hand, from which to study, can provide very important insights into the student’s actual performance. It becomes easier to see the type of problems (math) or reading passages (language) that gave the student the most difficulty. It allows students to realize what they could have done differently to have answered more questions and answered more questions correctly. It even affords a platform from which to discuss test-taking strategies.
For the 2013-2014 school year, the SAT Q & A service is available for the October, January and May tests only. For the ACT, the TIR Service is available for the December, April and June tests only.
Even though it is possible to order out these special services for a short period after the actual test date, it is even better to schedule the test on the appropriate date in advance.
As always, look at the web links provided above and/or contact the test services for more details.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil