I am clueless about the ACT

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: I am clueless about the ACT
By Testtaker (Testtaker) on Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 04:01 pm: Edit

I think I might take the ACT in June and see how I do. All I know is that it consists of reading, english, math, and science reasoning. Can anybody tell me a little more about it. Here are some of my questions:

How is it compared to the SAT?

How is the timing? (Is there heavy time preasure)

Is it as predictable as the SAT? (I notice that on the SAT math, once you do some real math sections, you can sort of see the tricks they are trying to confuse you with)

How do you recomend preparing? (book recomendations, etc.)

Any other helpful info

By Holdenesquealex (Holdenesquealex) on Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 06:55 pm: Edit

I'll try to answer the questions I can.

It's definitely a different kind of test than the SAT. On the SAT you spend a lot of the time trying to find the trick, but the ACT is more straight-forward, not to say that it is easier. There is a lot of time pressure. I'd consider myself a fairly quick math student and reader, but I finished both the math and reading sections with no time to spare. I don't think most people finish it.

For preparation, I've hard good things about the Barron's book. The book I got, Cliffs Notes, was pretty lousy.

Overall I think the ACT is harder than the SAT, but different people do better on either of the tests.

By Testtaker (Testtaker) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 10:38 pm: Edit


By Drusba (Drusba) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 01:21 am: Edit

The reading and science sections are very similar to the SAT's reading section. The math is really a test of what you can remember from algebra, geometry and trig. The ACT generally does not try to trick you but instead attempts to test you on what the test makers believe you may have actually learned in school. The English section is generally passages which require you to pick the right words or phrases as you read through it and is heavy on grammar and gets complex and often has parts that most human beings usually screw up (like determining the proper use of "who" or "whom," or "which" or "that"). Some find the SAT harder than the ACT and vice versa. Unlike the SAT, memorizing a lot of vocab is not going to raise your score in the ACT significantly because it does not have a word association section like the SAT. There is significant time pressure. One thing to note with the ACT is that there is no deduction for a wrong answer and thus you should guess if you don't know the answer or you are about to run out of time.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 08:51 am: Edit

"The reading and science sections are very similar to the SAT's reading section"

I disagree. The reading section on the ACT is mostly different in that questions usually don't go in sequential order, whereas on the SAT, if you know where you found answers to questions 4 and 6, you can be sure that the answer to question 5 is located between the two places (unless any of the questions is a general question).

The science section is like reading??? I would not say so. You may be the best reader ever, but you gotta understand at least some science. Or, like me, you can suck at reading and not ready any introductions that they give you and rely on your scientific knowledge instead. That's what I have to do because of the time limit. Well, I actually did OK on reading, improving from 18 to 34, so I guess I am not such a bad reader anyway.

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