Today we have a guest post from Donna Zilkha, director of college admissions at Aristotle Circle. Aristotle Circle matches parents and students to experts with current insight and inside knowledge of college admissions.
There’s no doubt that a good score on your SAT or ACT will help you get into college and secure scholarships. Due to the importance of your performance on these tests, it’s critical that you prepare as much as possible. Here are some tips to improve your chances of doing well:
- Choose which exam you take wisely: When asking yourself SAT vs. ACT, it’s important to understand the difference between the two tests. The ACT focuses more on subject tests in English, Math, Reading and Science. If you are stronger with multiple choice, science and grammar; this is the exam to consider. The SAT is designed to evaluate general thinking and problem solving abilities. It starts with a required 25-minute essay and tests vocabulary. While it also relies heavily on multiple choice, there is a math section that requires independent problem solving.
- Understand your strengths…and weaknesses: Take a practice test and look at the results to find patterns in the types of questions you get wrong. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, instead of thinking “I do badly on math questions”, be specific: “I do badly on math questions that involve calculating with fractions.” Come up with a plan to study the areas you are doing most poorly in.
- Prepare an Essay Prep Sheet: Create an essay prep sheet with a compilation of quotes, historical references, scientific facts and other examples you may want to reference in your SAT or ACT Essay. This is a great way to organize your thoughts and create an organized, articulate essay that shows you are ready to get into college. Of course you cannot bring a prep sheet into the exam, but by memorizing a few quotes and answering a practice essay questions beforehand, you will be well ahead of the game. This essay preparation strategy works well no matter whether it is the SAT vs. ACT, an AP exam, a class final or a written statement for scholarships.
Any other tips I missed? Leave a comment.