Congratulations! You’re mostly prepared for the ACT. The “New SAT” is now very similar to the old ACT.
The math is mostly the same for both tests; the ACT’s “English Test” and the SAT’s “Writing and Language Test” are essentially identical; and the reading questions are also practically identical. there’s no science test on the SAT, but many, if not most, of the ACT’s “Science Test” questions are very much like graph and data-interpretation questions you had to do for the SAT. The ACT essay asks you to analyze three viewpoints on a topic that isn’t hard to understand, and about which you have probably thought before.
For you parents and other folk about my age out there, the “New SAT” is like the “New Coke” from the 1980s, but has a better chance of success. Basically, the ACT pulled ahead of the SAT in market share, so the SAT decided shamelessly to copy the ACT, with a couple of twists to make their product different from the ACT.
Here’s a brief rundown of the differences between the SAT and ACT:
On the ACT, there will be a couple (literally a couple, meaning two, as far as I can tell) matrix addition and multiplication questions, You’ll also need to know how to find the sum of a series from the first to the nth variable, for some value of n they’ll give you (series questions are on the SAT, but the ACT questions I’ve seen are more involved, ask about the sum of a group of series terms, average of a group for numbers). Also trig identities, and period/amplitude of a trig function, questions involving radians rather than degrees, law of sines, law of cosines, etc. The good news is, these questions are a relatively small portion of the total, so even if you miss most or all of these questions, it won’t catastrophically reduce your score.
If you want to review, or try to learn, matrix addition and multiplication, you can go here. You’re probably not going to learn matrix multiplication and addition from scratch in the few hours have left to study, but you can at least know a few tricks. And of course, if you just need to review these things, the review will be very helpful.
First of all, know that matrix multiplication is NOT commutative – the order matters. If you’re multiplying matrices, the number of columns in the first matrix (the left one) has to be the same as the number of rows in the second (right) one. If the first matrix is r rows x c columns, and the other is m rows x n columns, but c is NOT equal to m, don’t bother trying to do the math – the result is undefined.
For trigonometry problems, you’ll need to know the right triangle trig you needed to know for the SAT (SOH CAH TOA or “Oscar Has A Headache Over Algebra), and some basic questions about measuring trig functions using the unit circle and radians [Click here for review], and possibly the amplitude, period, etc., of trig functions [Click here for review].
For the science section, just try doing a few sets of science questions. You do need to know some very basic science to answer ALL the questions correctly for example, the charge of a proton or an electron, what photosynthesis is and does, what friction and gravity are, basic chemical concepts, you know – the kind of things you should have picked up even if you slept through most of your science classes, but if you don’t know them, you should be able to refresh your memory quickly by doing problems and seeing what you need to know. Other than that, all the ACT science test measures is your ability to read a graph or chart and your common sense. Don’t panic – you’ll do fine as long as you don’t try to bring in information that isn’t in the graph or the passage, and as long as you don’t let scary-looking formulas or science words scare you – you probably won’t have to know what many of them mean to get the values from the graphs or charts they want you to use. Read the questions first. Then zoom in on the charts and the passage that help you answer the questions. You may even find that some of the questions just ask about science you DO know, so you don’t even have to read the passage.
Reading and Writing
There’s no difference between the ACT and SAT on these sections. Don’t panic.
Almost all of you will have to do the “optional” essay, since the schools you want to attend require it. Read my previous blog entries on the ACT essay, follow the advice in them, and you’ll do fine. J
That’s it – good luck!
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Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.