TESTS ASSOCIATED WITH COLLEGE ADMISSION
PSAT • SAT • SAT II’s • ACT
For the most updated dates on these exams please visit:
The PSAT is a standardized test created by ETS (Educational Testing Services) and marketed by the College Board. It is designed to provide a practice test for juniors as preparation for the SAT. The test is also used by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.
All college bound juniors are encouraged to take the test.
The PSAT consists of three sections: critical reading, math, and writing. Students receive a minimum score of 20 and a maximum score of 80 on each section.
Colleges typically do not use PSAT scores as admission criteria. There is no formal registration process for this test.
SAT Reasoning Test
The SAT is a 3 hour and 45 minute test that measures critical reading, mathematics, and writing ability. It is a test of logic and reasoning skills. Students receive a minimum score of 200 and a maximum score of 800 on each section. All four-year college bound juniors are encouraged to take the SAT at least once during their 11th grade year, typically in May or June. Accelerated and/or high performing students should take the test twice in 11th grade, once in December or January and again in May or June. Students should also take the test once during the fall of their senior year (October, November, or December).
It is recommended that students register for the SAT online at http://www.collegeboard.com. However, paper (mail-in) registrations are also available in the Guidance Office. Fee waivers are available to those families that qualify.
The SAT II Subject Tests are designed to assess student preparedness in a specific subject. There are over twenty different SAT II Subject Tests in the areas of English, History, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Mathematics, and Science. Each test is one hour in length and students may take up to three different subject tests during one administration. Students may not take SAT II’s on the same day as taking the SAT Reasoning Test.
Not all colleges require SAT II’s. Most colleges that do tend to be more selective and may require SAT II’s for placement. It is up to the student to find out whether or not those colleges he/she is applying to require SAT II’s. Colleges that do require these tests may specify which tests applicants must take; others will allow the student to choose. Typically three different subject tests are required.
Students should take SAT II’s after completing a specific course of study. For example, one would presumably do best on a SAT II chemistry test after having completed chemistry. All required SAT II tests should be completed no later than December or January of the senior year. If applying as an early decision/early action candidate all tests should be completed by October of the senior year.
SAT II Subject Tests are offered on the same dates as the SAT Reasoning Test, with the exception of Foreign Language Tests with Listening (November only). Students can register for SAT II’s online at www.collegeboard.com or by mail. One or up to three Subject Tests may be taken at a single administration.
The ACT is a college entrance exam accepted by most four-year colleges that also require the SAT. These colleges will typically accept scores from either test. The ACT consists of four curriculum-based tests that measure academic achievement in the areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. There is also an optional writing test.
All four-year college bound students are encouraged to take the ACT at least twice. Students should take the test at the end of their junior year (June) and again in the fall of their senior year (October or December). Because the ACT measures achievement as opposed to logic and reasoning many students find the ACT to be a friendlier test. Recent national mean scores on the ACT have increased while likewise SAT scores have shown a decrease.
Students can register online for the ACT at www.act.org or by mail. Fee waivers are available for qualifying families.
Places where test scores are not required…
Increasingly, a number of colleges and universities are no longer requiring standardized test scores for admission. For a list of these colleges please visit www.fairtest.org/optstate.html.