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    East  Olympian Torch
    Guidance Department
    Columbus East offers FREE online test prep materials that can be accessed through the media center's DATABASES webpage (or here's a link: http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/colu24091?db=TERC ).
    Students can set up individual accounts, take practice tests, work through test prep courses at their own pace and have access to a wealth of other resources for each test.

    The ACT test was developed by the American College Testing Program. The ACT exam has four sections: Reading, English, Mathematics and Science. A maximum score is a 36. The ACT test is used to screen college applicants.

    The SAT is administered by College Board, and is developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The SAT Reasoning Test has three sections: Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. Scores on each section range from 200 to 800, with scores always being a multiple of 10. The SAT Essay is scored 1-6 with six being the best score.


    Some schools prefer one test over the other. Some will look at either. Check with the schools you are considering to confirm which they accept. In general, the ACT is more content based and tests your skill level in English, Math, Reading & Science reasoning. The SAT focuses more on critical thinking and problem solving skills. The SAT includes English, Math & Writing sections. The ACT is entirely multiple choice (with an optional essay section).

    Colleges generally take the highest English, Math and Writing scores even if they are on separate tests. The SAT penalizes you for incorrect answers while the ACT does not. Although we do not promote taking test prep courses, the reality is that many students do prep. You will be competing with them so consider taking a few practice tests. Sign up to receive a practice question by email every day at www.collegeboard.com. Some students take both tests for scholarship purposes. Some colleges accept the higher score so you qualify for a bigger scholarship. Hope this info helps answer some questions regarding these tests.
    ACT or SAT?
    When to Study for your Test

    As you prepare for your test, you want to make sure that you start soon enough. Knowing when to begin your preparation process is critical to having enough time to prepare, without feeling rushed. Adequate preparation time has become increasingly important as test takers lives are increasingly rushed and often feel as though they don't have enough time to prepare for their test.

    The amount of time that is necessary to prepare depends on the individual, as well as the score the test taker hopes to achieve. If you are a quick learner, then you may not need to spend as much time preparing as someone that absorbs material and concepts at a lower rate.  Since your goal is a high score, then you should spend some time preparing. However, to get your best score, it will most likely require additional study time.

    Test Preparation Resources

    There are many resources that you can use as you begin the test preparation process. You will find much information about most tests completely free and online at official websites, containing test dates, the types of questions, how long the test will take, and most other questions concerning the details of the test. The internet also provides access to test study guides and free practice tests that will help you prepare as well.

    Test Anxiety

    Test anxiety is, for most people, unpleasant but controllable. Some kind of physical or emotional anxiety is common to most test takers. Some people live in dread of a moment when their brains “go blank.” Others experience gastrointestinal problems, headaches, or profuse sweating. Whatever the physical or psychological manifestation, the test taker should begin to condition themselves early on by preparing thoroughly, participating in practice exams and courses, and performing physical conditioning exercises.

    Time management, good study habits, and attention to organization are practical activities that alleviate the anxieties of test day. Stretching and breathing exercises do not require a great deal of exertion and can be performed anywhere, even during the test in most cases. Yoga practitioners may develop the art of calming themselves down by focusing on relaxation techniques. Even posture and clothing can play a part. Sitting properly will free the diaphragm and allow for easier breathing. Loose, comfortable clothing suitable to the interior climate will also aid in relaxation.

    Keep in mind that there are many people who actually enjoy challenging themselves through testing. After all, isn’t that why many people participate in sports or other forms of competition? You might think it impossible to enjoy challenging yourself through computer or paper testing, but the competitive spirit thrives in everyone. Just think of an area where you have competed successfully, remember the feelings of confidence you experienced as a result, and do your utmost to channel that experience into testing practice.

    Test Difficulty

    Test difficulty is a relative phenomenon. Just because you’ve heard that the SAT or ACT or any other standardized test is difficult does not mean that you will find it so. A great deal of time goes into preparing for any kind of test. Testing is not based upon what you learned in the last week or the last month; it is based upon years of learning. Considering that you have chosen to embark on a path toward a particular college, it is likely that you will have learned a great deal about your potential college choices.  By the time you take your ACT or SAT test, it is hoped that you have developed an extended vocabulary, a good skill for analysis, and a host of other skills that will help you overcome the difficult parts of a test.

    Even so, there will be some test questions that will require additional effort. You should pay attention and orient yourself to the time interval allotted for completion of the test; also, you should move through the easier questions, note the ones that require more time, and go back to address them sequentially after you’ve answered the easier questions. Certainly, you will still find yourself unable to address confidently some of the questions. Don’t let the difficulty of a few test questions frustrate. Test examiners expect a certain number of wrong answers, and tests are designed accordingly. The intent is not to find the perfect person, but rather to find one with sufficient skill and reasoning power to fit the specific requirements for college entry. While you might feel bad about your test performance, you will likely feel better when the percentile scoring report indicates how few students come close to a perfect score.

    TestPrepReview.com provides free unofficial review materials for a variety of exams.

Last Modified on August 3, 2017