Students with documented learning abilities who have been given accommodation for extra time may be more comfortable with the ACT, according to Sam Rosensohn, the founder of College Planning Partnerships. The SAT, he states, “places enormous emphasis on decoding complex text and deciphering puzzling questions…ACT questions are easier to process, store and respond to than SAT questions.”
Students with and without learning differences face a challenge in decoding the complex SAT text. The ACT math is generally a better test for weaker math students, posing questions that are more straightforward, more like what students might see on exams at school. College Planning Partnerships advises students given extra time accommodation to spend time on the first 40 questions of the math test, and then to guess on the remaining 20, the latter could yield an additional four correct answers, at least, if they fill in the same answer bubble for each question. Essentially, having “skipped” the hardest 1/3 of the exam students given time and a half will have two minutes and 15 seconds per problem instead of only one minute and 30 seconds per problem.
The science test is notoriously difficult, and all students need to be strategic in taking it. Students should focus on answering the 33 questions from the basic and experimental sections, and might want to consider skipping the seven questions from the “conflicting scientists” passage, which requires the retrieval and processing a a great deal of information in order to answer the difficult comparison questions.
Time is less of an issue on he English test than it is on the reading, math and science sections. Students who review the Real ACT Test Prep Guide and who take the time to understand the ACT grammar will see that half of the answer choices simply require the removal of unnecessary words or punctuation, while 20% of them are correct as is. Rosensohn believes that this test is the most “prep-able.”
Rosensohn goes on to suggest that the essay section is a great opportunity for a student to reveal that he has a learning disability, and has learned to overcome a disadvantage. Many prompts lend themselves to inputting such personal insight and experience.