Structure

Which one should I take?

Students can take the ACT, SAT, or both. Admissions officers do not have a preference for one or the other. Both tests are accepted at all US four-year institutions.

 

To determine which test you are better suited for, take a free full-length evaluation test at Potomac Oak Tutoring. Following that evaluation, we'll be able to give you a detailed overview of the areas where you can improve, and which test plays to your strengths.

 

Whichever test you end up choosing, our professional and experienced instructors will create an individualized tutoring plan to help you to maximize your scores.

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Suite 225

Rockville, Md. 20852

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Find out!   

 

Take a free evaluation test. Many students do better on the ACT, and some do better on the SAT. We can determine which one fits you best.

At-a-glance facts

The first step in standardized test prep is to find out which test is right for you.

Four sections

  1. Reading, 65 min.

  2. Writing & Language, 35 min.

  3. Math: no calculator, 25 min.

  4. Math: calculator, 55 min.

  • Essay (optional), +50 min.

 

Difficulty

  • passages and questions are "trickier"

Timing & strategy

  • more time per question

Topics covered

  • Algebra I and II

  • Geometry

  • Trigonometry (precalculus)

  • Statistics

 

Topic breakdown

  • less Algebra

  • heavy emphasis on Geometry

  • many data interpretation (Statistics) questions

 

Question style

  • straighforward Algebra questions similar to a high school math test

  • many word problems requiring critical thinking

  • most difficult problems require many steps to solve

ACT

New SAT

Four sections

  1. English, 45 min.

  2. Math, 60 min.

  3. Reading, 35 min.

  4. Science, 35 min.

  • Essay (optional), +40 min.

 

Sections

  • Each section receives a score on a scale from 1 to 36

  • Essay receives a score on a scale from 1 to 12

 

 

Composite

  • The four sections are averaged for a scaled composite score out of 36

  • Essay not included in composite score

 

Sections

  • Sections 1 and 2 comprise the verbal score of 200-800

  • Sections 3 and 4 comprise the math score of 200-800

  • Essay receives score of 1-12

 

Composite

  • Verbal and math scores are added for a scaled composite score out of 1600

  • Essay not included in composite score

Grammar & style

  • identifying grammar errors embedded in prose

  • identifying unclear, wordy, redundant, and awkward expressions

 

Vocabulary

  • in-context only

  • no archaic/obscure words

 

Reading comprehension

  • prose fiction, social science, humanities, and natural science

  • passage comparison

 

Writing

  • argumentative

  • students are asked to build an argument for one of three given perspectives on an issue

  • optional (but many colleges require it)

 

 

Grammar & style

  • identifying grammar errors embedded in prose

  • identifying unclear, wordy, redundant, and awkward expressions

 

Vocabulary

  • in-context only

  • no more "SAT words"

 

Reading comprehension

  • prose fiction, "Great Global Conversation," and natural science

  • passage comparison

 

 

Writing

  • analytical

  • students are given an argumentative essay or speech and asked to analyze how an author or speaker builds an effective argument

  • optional (but many colleges require it)

 

 

Difficulty

  • questions are more "straightforward" 

 

Timing & strategy

  • less time per question

Dedicated "Science" section

  • tests students on comprehension and data analysis

  • requires very little science knowledge

 

No dedicated section

  • data analysis questions are found in all sections

  • students must identify correct interpretation of reading passages as data

 

Topics covered

  • Algebra I and II

  • Geometry

  • Trigonometry (precalculus)

 

 

Topic breakdown

  • even distribution of Algebra and Geometry questions

  • only basic Statistics questions

 

 

Question style

  • straighforward Algebra questions similar to a high school math test

  • many word problems requiring critical thinking

  • most difficult problems require a strong understanding of advanced math topics

Scoring

Difficulty

& timing

Verbal

content

Quantitative

content

Crossover

content

Potomac Oak Tutoring

240-221-1661

potomacoaktutoring.com

3204 Tower Oaks Blvd, Suite #225, Rockville, MD 20852

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