The mathematics section of the SAT now has a calculator and no calculator section. Content in the mathematics sections now includes coordinate geometry, algebra one, algebra two, and some pre-calculus. This is a drastic change and requires additional preparation especially for students who have not received both algebra one and algebra two by the end of the tenth grade. The no calculator section of the SAT has caused students a great deal of anxiety. Students must now have a fundamental knowledge of the basics in algebra and arithmetic. In addition new strategies are now necessary to cope with the changes that have come forth.
English content in the ACT has remained relatively stable; however, the SAT English has changed slightly. This area now includes the interpretation of graphs and charts which is similar to the science section on the ACT.
The mathematics and English sections of the ACT have remained relatively stable; however, the math section has increased in difficulty with the inclusion of some math analysis and harder probability problems. ACT science causes a great deal of difficulty for many students. Speed is the integral factor since there are 40 questions and only 35 minutes to complete. Students do not have to have fundamental knowledge of the specific science areas but be able to interpret and decipher the charts and graphs. This is the section on the test that usually causes the overall score to decline.
In general the best way to determine which test is best suited for your child would be to take a complete practice test in each one and then compare the results.
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