High School teachers and their students should be aware of the ins and outs of both the SAT and ACT admissions exams. Both of these exams are used by colleges and universities to decide if a student is eligible to be admitted into their institution. My goal as a high school math teacher is to be aware of the testing dates and keep my students practicing the skills needed to be successful on either or both of these tests. For the upcoming year, here are the testing dates for both exams during the 2020 – 2021 testing season:

SAT | ACT |

Aug 29 | |

Sept 13(SAT In School), 26 | Sept 12, 13, 19 |

Oct 3, 14(PSAT/SAT In School) | Oct 10, 17, 24, 25 |

Nov 7 | |

Dec 5 | Dec 12 |

Feb 6 | |

March 13 | March (Possible In School Dates) |

April (Possible In School Dates), 17 | |

May 8 | |

June 5 | June 12 |

July 17 |

When a student asks me which one they should take, I always say both. Some students do much better on one of them than the other. The students should also think about which colleges they are applying and look at the requirements to help them decide which test to take. More urban high schools are paying for students to take the tests during the school day. This is an awesome opportunity and the students should take advantage. Another thing for teachers to keep in mind is that 11th grade students have an opportunity for recognition and scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship if they do well on the PSAT in October.

If you’re wondering how the SAT and ACT math portions compare, take a look at my chart below:

SAT | ACT |

2 Sections of Math: No Calculator – 25 minutes (20 questions) Calculator – 55 minutes (38 questions) | 1 Section of Math: 60 minutes – 60 Questions A calculator can be used on the exam. |

78% Multiple Choice with 4 Choices 22% of the Questions are Grid-in | 100% Multiple Choice with 5 Choices |

Problems fall into 4 Categories: 1) Heart of Algebra – linear equationsand systems. 2) Problem Solving & Data Analysis – being quantitatively literate 3) Passport to Advanced Math – manipulating complex equations 4) Additional Topics – geometry, degrees and radians, trig or other college and career ready topics. | Problems fall into 3 Categories: 1) Preparing for Higher Matha) Number & Quantity b) Algebra c) Functions d) Geometry e) Statistics & Probability 2) Integrating Essential Skillsa) Synthesizing and applying understanding to complex problems b) Multi-step c) Non-routine problems d) Understanding connections 3) Modeling – This doubles with one of the other categories. A question can be both “Preparing for Higher Math” and “Modeling” in other words. |

Now that you know more about these two exams, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your students. Even 9th and 10th graders can take the SAT 8/9 and the SAT 10 if you school chooses to facilitate it. All levels of students need practice over these exams. These tests are not like what students are accustomed to. One of the best ways for a teacher to understand how questions are asked is to take some practice tests. Very quickly you’ll see how you need to up your game in your classes and ask questions in different ways.

In 2016, I became a teacher on an Early College High School Campus. This is when my interest in college readiness soared. I also felt bad that in my previous years I did not give much thought about these tests. In 2016, I was given a class of seniors that had never passed the TSI (comparable to the ACCUPLACER). I had no resources, so I started researching and soon found out that I was going to need to create my own. Once I got most of my students to pass the TSI, I began preparing them for the ACT and SAT. Again, I had to create my own lessons. I’m happy to say that I’ve got all of these resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I’ve got them in various forms. You can purchase bundles or individual lessons. I’m still enjoying creating these resources and I’m adding things as I go. My current project is ACT bellringers. I’m also adding distance learning resources so that no matter your situation, you can find what you need.

I’m glad you made it here. This shows that you are invested in your students.** They rely on us to use our knowledge to advance their knowledge!** I wish you and your students success and a happy future. Please check out my resources if you are limited on what you have available!

Other Related Posts:

Study Guides for Math Portions of College Entrance Exams and College Readiness Exams

GETTING READY FOR THE OCTOBER PSAT

Are Your Students College Ready? 5 Teacher Challenges!

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