Updated: June 14, 2015
Getting into the Best Colleges - SAT and ACT TestsDecades of real life earnings data have shown that college graduates makes SIGNIFICANTLY more than high school graduates, and the income gap continues to widen. A college education is an investment in your future, and your future earnings. But both the price of a college education and the difficulty in getting into the top schools have increased in recent years. But before you can get that degree, you need to get accepted into college - and that is where standardized tests like the SAT and ACT come into play. These tests were created to get standardized evaluations from all applicants, regardless of their high school grading system or level of students in their area. These college entrance exams are meant to measure mathematical, language, and writing skills. They start with the PSAT, which is preliminary to the SAT. High scorers on the PSAT are eligible to become National Merit Scholars, which can help with college admission and scholarships. The PSAT is normally taken at the end of 10th grade or the beginning of the junior year in high school. View SAT study guides here.
What is the SAT and why is it important? SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. Most colleges and universities require applicants to submit their SAT scores and partially evaluate candidates based on these scores. The SAT can be taken multiple times, beginning at the middle of the junior year and continuing through the fall of the senior year of high school - scores normally need to be received by colleges when you are applying in the winter or spring, so you need to make sure you take the test soon enough. The SAT consists of 19 analogy questions, 19 sentence completion questions, and 40 critical reading questions. For the math portion, 50 various multiple choice questions and 10 free response questions. The test last for 3 hours and cost just under $25, which includes reporting results to up to 4 universities - additional schools are $6.50 each. All you can bring to the testing center is your picture ID, number 2 pencils, admission ticket - you can't bring in scratch paper, snacks, notes, rulers, cell phones, etc. Normally, the tests begin at 8:30AM and end at 12:30 (with a short break between each section of the exam). Scores are mailed to you usually 3-4 weeks after the SAT. Some of the SAT books and practice tests listed below will help prepare you for the exam and give you an idea of what to expect. The ACT stands for American College Testing Assessment. Browse the ACT review books here.