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How difficult is it to finish ACT/SAT sections on time?

cbugcbug Registered User Posts: 614 Member
edited May 2011 in College Life
Cross posted in parents forum.

S2 is a little apprehensive about the timed component of the ACT and SAT. Do most kids find it easy to finish the sections on time? S1 did run out of time on writing portion of ACT.
Post edited by cbug on

Replies to: How difficult is it to finish ACT/SAT sections on time?

  • elun91elun91 Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    For me taking the ACT, the English section gives way too much time and the reading section gives way too little time. The math section gives exactly the right amount of time. I think the essay portion also gave close to the right amount of time, maybe slightly less.

    I've taken the ACT and numerous practice ACT tests, and it was always the same way. I always finished the English section with about 15 minutes remaining and got all or nearly all the questions correct.

    However, the reading section was totally different. No matter how quickly I tried to read I could never finish the reading section in time. The advice in the ACT prep books didn't help. There were always about 1/3rd of the questions that I couldn't get around to answering.

    I think the ACT test is badly designed, at least it was back when I took it. I never took the SAT though, because I felt like my first ACT score was high enough (31 composite) that I didn't need to take any more.

    I talked to a few other people though, and they didn't express my sentiments. What takes a long time for you may vary depending on what subjects you find easier to complete. The only way you can tell is by taking many practice tests.
  • DrewCollinsDrewCollins Registered User Posts: 635 Member
    I personally didn't have an issue finishing any of the sections on time. The reading section I was cutting it close though. My advice is do all the ones you can do quickly and easily then go back to the harder ones.
  • Sparkles21Sparkles21 Registered User Posts: 493 Member
    I took SAT 3 times and ACT 2 times. Never had any trouble finishing up ACT, but I don't think I finished a single section on the SAT. Ever. It wasn't by much, maybe 2-3 questions, but it was still very aggravating. Needless to say I did much better on the ACT. :)
  • nervousjimnervousjim Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    It varies from person to person. I my self don't have trouble with the time, but the best way to find out is just to do some practice sections timed!
  • elun91elun91 Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    They only give a set amount of time for each section, and if you finish before the time is up, you have to wait until the next section starts. They don't allow you to go back and finish the earlier sections either. If they did, I definitely would have done that.
  • HonorsCentaurHonorsCentaur Registered User Posts: 1,666 Senior Member
    It indeed varies, but personally when I took the SAT timing was probably of least concern. It was fairly easy to finish all the questions with 3-4 minutes to check.
  • rymdrymd - Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    varies greatly
    for me: english, reading, math - just enough time
    science - ...you've really gotta get lucky
  • MLDWoodyMLDWoody - Posts: 2,138 Senior Member
    The only portion i couldn't finish my first time around on the ACT was science. You learn how to do it after that though. You can't read all the info. You have to just pick out the parts that have to do with your question
  • SkylineEyesSkylineEyes Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    I hated the SATs primarily because of the time stuff. I thought reading and math sections needed much more time.
  • MLDWoodyMLDWoody - Posts: 2,138 Senior Member
    I didn't like the flow of the SAT. Writing first then Math reading math reading etc. Why switch back and forth?

    With the ACT it was one and done and then once you got to the writing you could drop big words you read in the reading section :D
  • YiehtkYiehtk Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    I've actually never had this problem, but I am a speedy test taker. Going fast is actually a sign of me doing well. If I am going slowly... that's a test I am probably failing. I did a lot of practice tests for the ACT before I took it so I knew what to expect, and how to time manage.
  • lalilalilalalilalila Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    I think it depends on the person, too. I took the SAT twice -- first time w/o studying, second time with. Took the ACT once, w/o studying. On the SAT, I only had issues with timing in Math. On the ACT, I struggled (they give you less time!) on the Math and Science sections. I'm slow in general when it comes to math, and I hadn't even taken a practice test for the ACT, so I stumbled over the Science questions, as they were not what I had expected. Had no trouble with SAT Reading/Writing; ACT Reading/Writing was 10x easier for me and I finished much earlier than the time given. I'm better with words than numbers (: Kinda jealous of math geniuses, though...
  • augustus1augustus1 Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    Most people agree that the reading and science sections of the ACT take the longest. For me, I had plenty of time on the Writing section, I finished the Reading section in exactly the allotted time (got a 35 on it using some hints posted in the ACT Test forum), I finished the Math section a few minutes early, and I finished the Science section too with a few minutes to spare. I helped that I took a practice test beforehand and knew the speed at which to pace myself.

    I didn't have any time-related problems on SAT.
  • almost therealmost there Registered User Posts: 1,417 Senior Member
    On the SAT the reading and english sections gave WAY too much time (as in 5 to 7 minutes extra) and the math section didn't give enough time.
  • cbugcbug Registered User Posts: 614 Member
    What's the best way to do the timed practice tests? Do both the ACT and SAT web sites have online timed practice tests?
This discussion has been closed.