We have a guest in today’s post. Rebecca Masinter, head of an innovative online approach to ACT Test prep, answers a few questions to help those of you taking the ACT, especially the science ACT.
Accepted.com: What is the main difference between the science ACT and the subject SAT exams in the sciences?
Rebecca Masinter: There are two main differences between the ACT and SAT science subject exams. The first is simply how colleges use them. The ACT or SAT I is required for college admissions at most colleges while SAT II subject tests are optional at many colleges and are often used for academic course placement.
The second main difference between them is that SAT II science tests measure a student’s scientific knowledge in a specific subject while the ACT science test measures scientific reasoning and data interpretation. This means that the ACT science does not test or reflect a student’s scientific knowledge but a skill set that allows them to effectively interpret graphs and experiments in a short time period. Since the test requires applied scientific reasoning instead of scientific knowledge, many students who excel in their science courses are shocked by their low ACT science scores. This distinction also explains why effective tutoring can raise students’ scores on the science ACT with less preparation than subject tests require.
Accepted.com: What is the biggest challenge in the ACT as a whole and the science ACT in particular?
Rebecca Masinter: For many students, completing the ACT test within the allotted time period is a big challenge. Timing difficulties are compounded on the science ACT test as each of the seven passages presents scientific information unfamiliar to most students, (the test includes data from all branches of science and is not correlated to a high school curriculum). Unless students have a method to move through the data quickly, they will find themselves without enough time to finish the ACT science test.
Accepted.com: What do you feel is particularly effective in preparing for the ACT as a whole and the science section of the ACT in particular?
Rebecca Masinter: All students should take a practice ACT early on to determine their weakest subject area so they know where to direct their energy. Our approach is to focus on the science section because it is the lowest scoring section for many students and, in our experience, the easiest section to raise ACT scores significantly by applying specific techniques. The skills and confidence students gain while preparing for the most intimidating section will carry over to other ACT tests as well. After students have learned the strategies to master the test, they should practice diligently until the techniques are deeply ingrained so that even under the stress of a timed test, they will be able to apply them effortlessly.
Accepted.com: What is the focus of ACTprep.tv’s videos and webinars?
Rebecca Masinter: ACTPrep.tv’s videos and webinars are designed to boost students’ scores on the science portion of the ACT test, in the shortest amount of time at a reasonable price. The webinars (web based seminars) consist of an introductory four hour course that can be combined with an additional three hours of practice using sample ACT passages. (The supplementary practice webinar can also be used on its own as a review or reinforcement for students already familiar with ACTPrep’s method.) The webinars are taught live over the internet allowing students to interact with a tutor by asking questions and solving problems in the website’s virtual classroom. The videos on-demand are a lower priced alternative to the live classes. The videos teach the same strategies but without student interaction and using fewer examples. The website will shortly have additional practice passages and review sessions available in video format in order to provide even more practice for students.
ACTPrep.tv provides live online tutoring and pre-recorded videos to prepare students for the ACT. The company’s initial courses are focused exclusively on the science section of the ACT, but will eventually cover all subjects of the test. ACTPrep leverages the efficiency of the Internet to provide students across the country with direct access to experienced teachers and a proven methodology at competitive rates.
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