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How Will the SAT or ACT Affect Your College Entrance?

Colleges and Universities

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a standardized test created by non-profit ETS, the Educational Testing Service, and administered by The College Board. The test, formally known as the SAT Reasoning Test, is required for admission to nearly every undergraduate college and university in the country. The SAT takes about three hours and forty-five minutes to complete, and is administered at central testing centers in every state, usually at various schools and civic buildings. The test is made up of three parts ? critical reading, math and writing.

The ACT test was created by ACT, Inc., which stands for American College Testing. It was developed in 1959 as an alternative to the SAT. Some people prefer the ACT test over the SAT test because it focuses more on knowledge than it does on innate skill. In other words, the ACT tends to measure more of what students have already learned, and the SAT focuses more on analytic and critical thinking skills. Most, but not every, college and university will accept either test, but it is important to check with the schools you are applying to before you decide which test to take.

Regardless of whether you take the SAT or the ACT test, you should approach the exam with confidence and patience. It's important to be realistic about the outcome of the test, and to know that your test scores will only be one part of the total application package that a college and university will use to evaluate you.

Some college and university admissions officers weight the test scores more heavily than others, but there is no way to know in advance how your score will be weighted at each different college and university. However, it's important to know that every reputable college and university is armed with a conscientious admissions staff that understands that some people are better standardized test takers than others.

Thus, it is important to focus on your total application. You may be a whiz at standardized tests, or you may struggle with the time limits or the structure of the exam. Regardless, you need to put just as much energy into the rest of your college admission efforts. Most college and university staffs will evaluate your academic record (grades), your essay or personal statement, your recommendation letters, your extra-curricular involvement and your admissions interview just as carefully as they look at test scores.

The bottom line is that you should study for the SAT or the ACT and give it your all. If the rest of your application is strong, and you score well on your test, you can be confident of your college and university admission chances.

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