Fall is coming, and along with the fall rains comes the time to prepare for college entrance exams. Starting in August, parents must plan with the student their approach to insure they are taking the right tests and headed in the right direction. Beginning in October your college bound Junior should begin taking the first of their college entrance exams, beginning with the PSAT and followed by the SAT and ACT. So which test is the right test, and what is the difference between the ACT and the SAT and PSAT? If you haven’t asked these questions yet, you soon will be.

The PSAT is the exam that gives the colleges their first glimpse of you as a student. It must be taken in October of the junior year. It is also the National Merit Scholarship qualifier so it is highly advisable that your student learn test-taking skills for this test.

Many parents and their children want to know which test is easier, and which one gives them the best chance of getting a higher score. Originally the ACT test was developed and used as the standard entrance exam for the majority of Mid-Western colleges and universities, and the SAT was the test used by the vast majority of colleges in the Eastern and Western United States.  Today the vast majority of colleges accept either the SAT or the ACT when making their admissions decisions.

The major differences in the tests involve the types of questions that are being asked.  The ACT test tends to ask questions that are very content based and tests the knowledge that one would gain through a typical high school education. The SAT on the other hand asks questions that are more based on a students reasoning and problem solving skills.  This test is less concerned learned knowledge and more concerned with how the student can apply problem-solving skills.

The ACT also contains a “Science Reasoning” section unlike the SAT. The SAT also places a heavy emphasis on vocabulary skills as well as grammar; while the ACT’s English section places its emphasis almost completely on grammar skills.  In the end it is your son or daughter’s specific skill set that will determine which test is better.  It is to their benefit to take both.

Math Support Services provides an option for students to prepare for both tests in one workshop.  Convenient Saturday and Sunday sections are available. Students attending our workshops achieve statistically significant score increases similar to the large test prep companies for much less tuition. Since 1996 we have provided ACT or SAT programs.  Please call (661) 255-1730 for additional information.