BOTH! I recommend that students take both the ACT and SAT to see which exam is a better fit. Then, students should focus on their exam of choice to achieve their best possible score. Click here for a copy of the score concordance.
For the SAT, choose the months when the Question and Answer Service (QAS) is available. For the ACT, choose the months when the Test Information Release (TIR) is available. This way you can purchase the test release service for about $25 and review the entire test. This is a great opportunity to rework the questions you missed.
Using my methods, dedicated students have gained 200 points on the math section of the SAT and 8 points on the math section of the ACT. I have a collection of actual exams from the SAT/ACT test release services. I take the exam myself so I can provide my students with current, authentic exams and first-hand knowledge. Yes, I am the oldest one at the testing center and I score in the top 99th percentile!
1. There is no substitute for a strong foundation in Algebra and Geometry. There are no tricks or shortcuts that can compensate for poor math skills.
3. Practice ALL of the official problems until you can do ALL of them efficiently and correctly. Only then, should you consider using other materials.
4. Back solving (or plugging answers choices back into the question) to see which one is correct, almost always wastes too much time. Learn how to solve the problem “straight up”.
5. You must be able to complete each problem in under a minute. Most problems take about 30 seconds or less.
6. Always glance at you answer choices before completing the problem. For example, if your answers choices are in terms of pi, don’t bother multiplying by pi.
7. Make sure you answer the problem completely. Always quickly reread the question to make sure you solved for the correct answer.
8. Eliminate answer choices first, but only if it can be done quickly and easily. For example, you cannot get a real solution if you take the square root of a negative number.
9. Choose the best (and fastest) way to solve a problem. This is the HARDEST thing to do. This will come with practice and expert guidance.
10. If a problem is drawn to scale, sometimes you can make a reasonable guess if you are totally clueless.