The PSAT/NMSQT
The PSAT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  It is a standardized test that measures college readiness in math, reading, and writing.  At Wesley College Preparatory School the PSAT is administered in October each year.  All 7th through 11th grade students are given the exam at school.  We do not administer the PSAT 8/9.  Instead, all 7th through 11th graders take the same PSAT/NMSQT.  This allows us to better track students’ progress year-to-year.  Score reports are distributed to students in the Spring semester.  The cost of the exam is included in tuition.  There is no need for students to register for the exam.
SAT Test Dates for the 2019-2020 School Year
These are the dates as published by College Board and they are subject to change.  The College Board has eliminated the January test date and has added an August test date.

 

Students are responsible for registering for the SAT themselves through www.collegeboard.org.

 

Students with IEPs or 504 plans should contact the counseling department to request that their IEPs or 504 plans are registered appropriately with College Board to ensure their accommodations can be met.

 

Families who qualify for fee waivers should contact the counseling department no less than two months before the desired test date’s registration date to obtain a fee waiver form.

 

Seniors who are taking the SAT for regular admissions must take the exam no later than the December test date.  Please check with individual colleges and universities to see if they have a different expectation than above.

ACT Test Dates for the 2019-2020 School Year
These are the dates as published by ACT and they are subject to change.

 

Students are responsible for registering for the ACT themselves through www.act.org.  When students register for the ACT they are required to submit a photo of themselves for identification purposes.

 

Students with IEPs or 504 plans should contact the counseling department to request that their IEPs or 504 plans are registered appropriately with ACT to ensure their accommodations can be met.

 

Families who qualify for fee waivers should contact the counseling department no less than two months before the desired test date’s registration date to obtain a fee waiver form.

 

Seniors who are taking the ACT for regular admissions must take the exam no later than the December test date.  Please check with individual colleges and universities to see if they have a different expectation than above.

TOEFL iBT Test

The information below is currently not available in a study book.  It is a completion of information from the ETS website and other organizations.

 

For those of you who may not have heard, the TOFEL iBT test has changed.  Overall it is now shorter (3 ½ hours as opposed to 4 hours).  The ETS states that the test is the same level of difficulty as before and that the new scores are comparable to the previous version of the test.  Some organizations believe that the Reading, Listening, and Speaking sections are a bit easier because of the reduced amount of questions and passages.  The Writing Section has remained the same.  Currently there are no sample tests available to study with, but over the next year ETS will begin to make some available.  At this time, it is recommended for students preparing to take the TOEFL iTB test to not change their study plans or strategies.

 

There is now a “MyBest Score” report included in a student’s score report.  In other words, if a student takes the TOEFL iTB test more than once, both the current score will appear and a student’s best score for each section.  This is intended to help students who are applying to university programs where they need a minimum score.  It is the student’s responsibility to see if the program they are applying to will accept a “MyBest Score” report from ETS versus the last score report.

 
 
 
The SAT vs. the ACT:  Which One Should You Take?

Today, nearly all colleges accept the ACT and SAT equivalently.  This means a student should pick the test that they will perform the best on to increase their admissions chances. Parents and students ask frequently which test is easier.  This is a difficult question to answer, especially now that the SAT has been revamped.  Students may not know how the tests compare to each other or which exam they will do better on. There are many differences between the ACT and SAT.  These differences can make one test easier or harder for some students.  Some of those differences are explained below.

 

 

MATH

The SAT and ACT have very similar expectations for math, but the ACT covers more material and as such may be perceived as being more difficult.  The SAT provides math formulas for you at the front of the math sections, but the ACT does not.  The SAT focuses more on algebraic concepts whereas the ACT focuses more on geometric and trigonometric concepts.  The SAT does not allow a calculator for one of the two math sections.  The ACT still allows a calculator to be used on the entire math section.

 

Both tests include:

  • Properties of Integers and Rational Numbers

  • Sequences

  • Linear and Quadratic Equations

  • Word Problems

  • Function

  • Basic Geometry (Lines, Triangles, Polygons, Circles, 3-D, and Coordinate Geometry)

  • Data Interpretation

  • Statistics and Probability

The ACT also includes:

  • Matrice

  • Complex Numbers

  • Trigonometry

  • Logarithms

  • Conic Sections

 

 

ENGLISH-WRITING

The ACT focuses slightly more on grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure than the SAT.  There are more questions about writing style on the SAT than the ACT.  The SAT also tends to test vocabulary more than the ACT.

Both tests include:

  • Faulty Modifier

  • Parallel Construction

  • Sentence Fragments

  • Pronouns

  • Verb Forms

  • Conciseness and Redundancies

  • Number Agreement

  • Idioms

  • Adjective vs. Adverb

 

The ACT also includes:

  • Comparison/Description

  • Word Choice (Non-Idiom)

  • Transitional Logic (Which Words are Best to Move from One Idea to Another)

  • Macro-Logic (How to Order Sentences and Paragraphs)

  • Author’s Formality and Tone

 

 

ENGLISH-READING

The biggest difference between the SAT and the ACT Reading sections is that the SAT includes fill-in-the-blank items.  The ACT only has questions about reading passages.  The SAT also has evidence support questions which are two part questions that ask you a standard question about the passage and a follow up question that asks you to cite evidence (which lines) that support your answer.  Another difference is that the SAT uses line numbers to make references to specific points in the reading passage allowing students to find information more quickly.  The SAT also asks questions about a reading passage in order.  The ACT does not include line numbers for the reading passages and they do not always ask questions in order.

The SAT includes:

  • Passages (Main Point, Identifying Details, Inferring Information, Vocabulary in Context, and the Function of Specific Parts)

  • Sentence Completion (Relationship between Two Words and Vocabulary-Based Questions)

 

The ACT includes:

  • Passages (Main Point, Inferring Information, Vocabulary in Context, and the Function of Specific Parts)

  • Fact Finding

  • Comparisons/Contrasts

  • Cause-Effect

  • Author Method

SCIENCE

 

The most obvious difference between the SAT and the ACT is that the SAT does not have a Science section.

 

The ACT science section covers:

  • Basic Knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, & Biology

  • Data Representation (Analysis, Interpreting Trends, and Calculations)

  • Research Summaries (Experimental Design, Researcher’s Intent, Hypothetical Experimental Changes, Interpreting Experiments, Understanding Viewpoint, and Comparing Viewpoints)

There are other important differences between the ACT and the SAT for students.  The major differences are described below.

GUESSING

Caution should be used while guessing on the SAT.  There is a ¼ point penalty for each wrong answer on the SAT.  There is no penalty not answering a question on either the SAT or the ACT. There is no penalty for getting a wrong answer on the ACT.

PASSAGES

While SAT passages do tend to follow the same basic patterns, they are not labeled by type or topic. The ACT does label each of the four passages.  The ACT also follows the same order of passages for each test:  1) Literary Narrative, 2) Social Science, 3) Humanities, and 4) Natural Science.

SECTIONS

The SAT does not title the different sections.  Math is easily identifiable, but Reading and Writing are differentiated by question type. The ACT titles its sections in huge bold letters.

QUESTIONS

The tests have very similar question styles in Math and Reading; the English questions in both tests involve students choosing how to replace underlined parts of sentences and paragraphs. However, they differ in how they apply this format.

TEST STRUCTURE

 

The SAT alternates between Math, Reading and Writing sections, and the essay is always the last section.  The essay is optional.  There are always ten sections on the SAT with three in math, two in writing, three in reading, and the essay.  There is an additional experimental section which can be in any of the three categories.  You will never have two math sections back-to-back.  You score is based upon eight sections plus the essay (if you completed the essay).

 

The organization of the ACT is much more streamlined.  It only has four sections and they are always in the same order: 1) English-Writing, 2) Math, 3) Reading, and 4) Science.  Occasionally there is a fifth section.  If there is a fifth section, it is the experimental section and does not count towards your score.

 

Wesley College Preparatory School | 5840 Mitchell Ave. Riverside, California 92505, USA. | info@wesleycollegeprep.org | Tel: 1.714.820.9440

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