Photo: Getty
The Hispanic Federation culminated its two-day webinars for students and parents. Photo: Getty

The Hispanic Federation prepares students for SAT/ACT

The organization offered a two-day series of webinars in Spanish to help parents and students understand how the SAT and ACT work and what to expect.


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The Hispanic Federation held a two-day series of Pathways to Academic Excellence webinars that quick-started Wednesday, March 15th, with social emotional practices to improve learning in child development. The webinar provided information to parents about trauma and how it affects child development and learning capacity.   

According to the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), “nearly half of American children—are exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can severely harm their future health and well-being.” It also adds that “ACEs fall under the category of early childhood traumas, a rampant and often unreported problem in the U.S., and include stressful or traumatic events stemming from abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, and toxic stress.” 

The Pathways to Academic Excellence webinars culminated Thursday, March 16th, with Preparing for the SAT/ACT Exams, which provided parents and high schoolers thorough information and strategies to equip students to take the college entrance exams—which is worth noting most higher education institutions do not require. For a list of test-optional colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, click here.  

What are the SAT/ACT exams?

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standardized test that examines high school students, skills in reading comprehension, writing and grammar, and math. 

The American College Test (ACT) is an alternative test to the SAT that measures readiness in English, Reading, Math, and Science—different from SAT, which does not have a science component.    

SAT/ACT readiness

The Hispanic Federation shared that most students take the ACT or SAT during the last two years of high school. Many choose to take the test more than once to try to improve their grades. Adding that test preference is entirely up to the student, and not necessary to take both exams. 

According to the Princeton Review, the ACT is approximately 3 hours long, which includes breaks, but if signed up for the optional essay, it can add 40 an hour to the exam with breaks. On the other hand, the maximum time allocated for SAT is approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes with 5 minutes breaks.  

In most states, the ACT is available seven times per year;  February, April, June, July, September, October, and December. Similarly, the SAT is accessible in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December. 

However, The Hispanic Federation reminded students and parents that incorrect answers are not penalized on either exam. Therefore, students are encouraged to make educated guesses. Also, the Hispanic Federation informed students that omitting to respond to a question is not penalized in the SAT.

Higher education institutions that require ACT/SAT scores will use this information to determine admission, course placement, and merit-based scholarships.  

The Hispanic Federation Recommendations for students

  • Familiarize yourself with the test
  • Identify areas of the exam that you can improve
  • Update your knowledge and skills
  • Listen carefully to the intersections and ask questions if there is something you don’t understand 
  • Read each question and possible answers before selecting a response 
  • If you finish before the time is up, check your answers

For a comprehensive list of test-optional and test-blind colleges, click here.



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