Posts Tagged ‘SAT test’

Guessing on The SAT

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Sat Exam

College Sat Exam

When is guessing a good idea on the SAT Test?

The SAT is a very tiring and lengthy exam. At times, when you take the SAT exam you will be unsure which answer choice to select or how to even approach a problem..  These are critical moments in your test taking and it integral to your success on the SAT test that you have a clear guessing strategy.

On the SAT exam you are awarded one point for each correct answer, deducted a quarter of a point for each incorrect answer, and neither awarded nor deducted points for leaving a question blank. So, basically, it really matters when you choose to answer questions on the SAT and how you come to that decisions. If you make wild guesses on questions on the SAT when you have no idea of the answer you seriously jeopardize your score. (more…)

Choosing a Test Center for the SAT

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

How do I choose the right test center to take the SAT?

When taking the SAT, it doesn’t matter which test center you choose, since you’ll either know the material or you won’t, right?  Well, not quite.  While it’s true that you’re not going to magically remember what a function is the minute you set foot on a well-run testing site, a poorly run site can really shake you up.  This aspect of taking the SAT is often under appreciated, and you should take it seriously.

At certain public school testing sites in Manhattan, for instance, you’ll have to walk through a metal detector and you may need to wait in the gym for as long as an hour before the test begins.  These aren’t the kinds of distractions you want to have on the day you finally take the SAT.

If possible, take the SAT at your own school.  You know how to get there, and you’ll be familiar with your surroundings.  The SAT is just like football: it’s always best to have the home-field advantage.  You’re likely to be calmer and more confident than you would at another site.

If it’s not an option to take the test at your own school, however, don’t worry.  Look for a nearby private school site, since these testing sites tend to be quieter and better run than public school sites.  There are also a handful public school testing sites that are run well.  (For instance, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, in Yorkville, NY, is a great place to take the test.) CATES tutors and administrators have years of experience with guiding students to different sites, and we can help you find the site that’s best for you.

Of course, if you’re going to an unfamiliar school to take the test, make sure to take the time in the weeks leading up to the SAT to make sure you know exactly how to get there.  The last thing you want is to get lost on your way to the testing site.

The best testing sites are quiet, organized and without distractions.  That’s the environment you want to find.

ACT or SAT Which is Better?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Which standardized test is more difficult?  Is the ACT test a better test for me than the SAT test?

While the SAT exam is still the standardized test of choice for many juniors and seniors, the ACT exam is becoming increasingly popular, and more and more colleges and universities are accepting it.

Unlike the SAT test, for which you’ll have to master tricky testtaking techniques, the ACT test is more straightforward.  You’ll encounter fewer curveballs when taking the ACT, which is essentially a test of how much you know.  If you’re a good student, and you’ve performed well in fairly difficult classes, you may want to take the ACT instead of the SAT, especially if you don’t think of yourself as a particularly savvy testtaker.  You’ll also be happy to know that the ACT, unlike the SAT, doesn’t count off for incorrect answers.  There’s no penalty for guessing on the ACT exam.

It’s tough to say which of the two exams covers more difficult material.  The ACT Math section, which includes some trigonometry problems, does cover more ground than the SAT Math section does.  On the other hand, the easiest ACT Math problems are simpler than anything you’ll find on an SAT test.  The SAT does specifically test advanced vocabulary, which you won’t need to know for the ACT.  With the exception of vocabulary, however, understanding how the SAT exam is written is just as vital as knowing what is covered on the test.

If you’re a math whiz, or a very experienced reader, this may work to your advantage, if you take the ACT.  The ACT exam’s straightforward format makes it a good match for test-takers who are very strong in one particular subject.  Because the ACT exam, unlike the SAT, averages the scores of each section to give you your composite score, a killer performance on just one ACT section can seriously increase your composite.

Don’t be too quick to discount taking the SAT, however.  For one thing, the ACT board is notoriously stingy about giving students extra time, and you’re much more likely to get extra time on the SAT.  Also, if you’re able to master just a few key testtaking techniques, you can substantially improve your SAT score, while working to raise your score on the ACT exam tends to take a little longer.

If you’re still not sure which standardized exam is right for you, you may want to try them both out, and see how you do.  CATES offers free ACT and SAT practice tests, which you can sign up for right here on our website.