They’re the scariest tests of all high school, but these tips and practice questions will prepare you to score your best.
Determine which test is right for you. Despite the differences between the two, neither the ACT nor the SAT is more likely to produce a great score. The best way to choose the right test for you is to investigate each; the tips listed below can help.
Practice. Do you know your stuff? See if you’re ready to take these important tests by trying your hand at these practice questions.
ACT Sample Questions
1.To no ones surprise, Joe didn’t have his homework ready.
- no ones surprise
- noones surprise
- no one’s surprise
- no ones’ surprise
2. When x = 3 and y = 5, by how much does the value of 3x2 – 2y exceed the value of 2x2 – 3y?
3. Sales for a business were $3 million more the second year than the first, and sales for the third year were double the sales for the second year. If sales for the third year were $38 million, what were sales, in millions of dollars, for the first year?
4. Still, the fact that a planet exists outside our solar system encourages hope that other solar systems exist, and in them, perhaps, a planet that supports life.
- that a planet exists outside our solar system encourages hope that other solar systems exist, and
- that a Planet exists out side our solar system encourages hope that other solar systems exist and
- could be that a planet exists outside our solar system encourages hope that other solar systems exist, and
SAT Sample Questions
1. Naturally a ______ person, my grandmother refused to succumb to our ____ mood and soon had us laughing and joking again.
- vivacious - obstreperous
- warm - jovial
- by looking up
- effervescent - somber
- dour - dejected
2. Helpers are needed to prepare for the party. Each helper can make either 2 large cakes per hour, or 35 small cakes per hour. The kitchen is available for 3 hours and 20 large cakes and 700 small cakes are needed. How many helpers are required?
3. Subservient is most nearly opposite in meaning to
4. ABCD is a square of side 3, and E and F are the midpoints of sides AB and BC respectively. What is the area of the quadrilateral EBFD?
Make sure you’re fully prepared.
Before you register or show up on test day, read the following preparation tips to ensure you’re as ready as ever.
Before test day…
- Study and practice. Winging it is not an option, especially since every point counts. A single point could mean the difference between getting a scholarship or getting into your first-choice school — or not.
- Do your homework. To feel more comfortable on test day, learn as much as you can about the exam by checking out the questions and directions on sample tests. For example: Did you know that for the SAT you’ll be asked to read about an issue, develop a point of view and then support it with examples during the mandatory writing portion?
- Know the strategy. ACT scores are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing, so it’s to your advantage to answer every question, even if you guess. On the SAT, more points are lost for wrong answers than blank ones. If you’re in serious doubt, leave a question blank.
- Get your supplies ready. Gather No. 2 pencils, erasers and calculators the night before so you’re not frantically searching for everything the morning of the test.
On test day…
- Eat breakfast. It will help prevent lightheadedness that may result from hunger and give you enough energy to make it though the test. Some sites also offer snacks between sections.
- Be on time. Moderators of both tests are strict, and you could be disqualified if you show up late.
- Read each answer. Some questions have several answers that might work, but the directions ask for the best one. Read and consider each possible answer before choosing.
- Pace yourself. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you’re stumped, move on to the next question and come back later.
- Answer easy questions first. Then, go back and answer the more difficult ones.
- Use process of elimination. Eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can. Then make an educated guess from the ones left.
Choose and register for your test date(s).
Pick from the following test dates in 2014–15 and register before the indicated deadlines.
ACT Test Dates & Deadlines
|Oct. 25, 2014||Sept. 19, 2014||Sept. 20–Oct. 3, 2014|
|Dec. 13, 2014||Nov. 7, 2014||Nov. 8–21, 2014|
|Feb. 7, 2015||Jan. 9, 2015||Jan. 10–16, 2015|
|April 18, 2015||March 13, 2015||March 14–27, 2015|
|June 13, 2015||May 8, 2015||May 9–22, 2015|
|Sept. 12, 2015||TBD||TBD|
*A late fee of $23 is added to the original cost of the test.
For more information on the ACT, visit ACTStudent.org/Regist.
SAT Test Dates & Deadlines
|Nov. 8, 2014||Oct. 9, 2014||Oct. 28, 2014|
|Dec. 6, 2014||Nov. 6, 2014||Nov. 24, 2014|
|Jan. 24, 2015||Dec. 29, 2014||Jan. 13, 2015|
|March 14, 2015||Feb. 13, 2015||March 3, 2015|
|May 2, 2015||April 6, 2015||April 21, 2015|
|June 6, 2015||May 8, 2015||May 27, 2015|
*A late fee of $28 is added to the original cost of the test. For more information on the SAT, visit SAT.CollegeBoard.org.
Want to take the SAT or ACT for FREE?
Both the ACT and SAT offer fee waivers for students who qualify, but they only cover basic registration, so you’ll have to pay for any special fees added on for being late or wanting your scores sent to more than four colleges or universities. Ask your high school guidance counselor for more information.
Highlight between the lines to see answers to the sample questions listed above:
ACT: 1. C; 2. B; 3. A; 4. A
SAT: 1. D; 2. A; 3. C; 4. D