Top Tips for Taking the SAT and ACT:
Find out if you can test for free.
Decide between the SAT and ACT.
Set SAT and ACT goals early.
Register for early testing sessions.
Understand how your test scores will be evaluated.
Partner with parents/guardians.
Select the right test prep course.
Explore other test prep resources.
Ask other test-takers about their experience.
Unpack your practice test results.
Work on timing during admission exams.
Reject myths about standardized tests.
Many colleges and universities are now "test optional" for SAT and ACT college entrance exams for the Class of 2023, in addition, the University of California and the California State University are not using SAT or ACT scores for admission. Check with the campuses you plan to apply to for their specific freshmen entrance requirements.
For private, independent colleges, that are test-optional, many will continue to evaluate applicants' academic and intellectual fit for their campus by looking at grades, course rigor, recommendations, academic honors or awards, personal essay and other information specific to a students' experiences and high school settings.
Look under the colleges' testing FAQ's for updated information.
Test-Optional: If a college indicates that they are "Test-Optional" for college admissions that means that they will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score.
Test-Blind: A college that reports that they are "Test-Blind" for college admissions means that they will not be looking at standardized test scores.
There are a number of different tests that students are able to take to prepare for college admission. Those tests are the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, AP, and ACT. Each one is different but you are not required to take every single one. You can get help deciding which ones to take here:
This is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is offered the 2nd or 3rd week in October to help 11th graders prepare for the SAT and potentially qualify for certain scholarships. There is a fee to take the test and waivers are available to those that qualify. Students are notified to sign-up, through the school bulletin, for this test during late September in the counseling center.
The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is intended to assess academic readiness for college. Some colleges use these scores in different ways, typically as a requirement for acceptance. In most cases, students take the SAT for the first time in 11th grade after studying from the results and information from the PSAT. A fair number of students take the SAT twice and perform better the second time. You can register for the SAT, find College Board Practice information, and get answers to general SAT related questions here.
Advanced Placement, or AP, exams are administered in the spring. Any student may take an AP exam, but usually students taking the AP course will take the exam. Many institutions will accept of score 3 or better on the AP Test and give college level credit for that subject.
The ACT, or American College Test, is another test accepted by institutions as a reflection of a students preparedness for college. Like the SAT it can be taken multiple times and with a written component option as well. The main difference between the two tests is that the ACT has a required Science portion on the test. More information about the ACT, fee waivers, and practice questions can be found here.
Which one do I take?
That's a common question. There is no clear cut answer as most colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. Typically, it can be helpful to take both tests to see which they do better on. The tests are different and some find that they do better on one than the other. In general, SAT tests students problem solving whereas the ACT measures achievement. The ACT can prove to be slightly more beneficial for those who want to make science an emphasis in their future (STEM and Health majors/careers) because of the Science component. Regardless, neither test is considered to be a stronger or better indicator of success at the collegiate level than the other. That being said, it may be advantageous for students to take both and see which one they perform better on.
Upcoming SAT Test Dates
Upcoming ACT Test Dates
For Test Dates and Registration Deadlines visit: www.act.org/