The average composite SAT score is 1068 while the 75th percentile composite SAT score is 1215. Similarly, the average ACT score is 21 while the 75th percentile score is a 24. The difference between an average an exceptional score on either of these standardized tests is only a few questions, however, those students which score at or above the 75th percentile have substantially more options for colleges and scholarships.

While each college weighs standardized test scores differently, it is estimated that the SAT or ACT accounts for between 25 – 50 percent of an application at most schools.

With the emphasis colleges put on standardized test scores, it is important that each student receives individualized help so that they can excel on the test that is right for them. Below are a few characteristics of each test, tips for studying, and how personalized tutoring can help your child reach their educational potential.

The SAT consists of 154 questions with about one minute and ten seconds allotted for each question. The format and scoring of the SAT were recently changed so that students are not penalized for wrong answers. This test consistently favors students who have a strong background in mathematical skills.

While the ACT gives students two hours and fifty-five minutes to complete all questions—compared to three hours for the SAT—this test has 215 questions with forty-nine seconds per question. As with the SAT, students are not penalized for wrong answers. While the ACT puts a larger emphasis on verbal skills which benefits students with a strong English background, this test has a specific section dedicated to science topics where the SAT does not.

What is the Right Test for Your Student

Both tests are equally difficult and while they may benefit students with different educational skills, the structure of the test is another area that can help students decide which test is right for them. The ACT is better for students that can make quick decisions and can focus for longer periods of time as this specific test has only one ten-minute break—compared to three breaks for the SAT. On the other side, the SAT has significantly fewer questions and is better for students which will benefit from a longer time per question and which thrive in shorter bursts of work. 

The best way for students to figure out what test will best suit their educational skills is to take a full practice test for each type of test. However, to achieve their full potential, students will benefit from working with someone who understands the structure of both tests and has experience with each type of question students may encounter.

How to Help Your Child Achieve Their Full Potential

With such little time per question, students must go into either test understanding each question type so that they can quickly navigate towards the right answer. This skill takes hundreds of hours of practice, yet with experienced tutors guiding the way, students are able to maximize their skill taking potential.

At Reading Escapades and Math Explorers, we look to maximize each student’s ability through customized games and unique teaching strategies that are developed individually for your student.

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