Links below connect to official sites with dates of tests and other useful information
Virtually all four-year colleges and universities require students to take either the ACT or the SAT I Reasoning Test. However, specific testing requirements vary from college to college. It is important that you are aware of the testing requirements for all the schools that you are considering. Contact each college or visit all of their web sites to be sure that you know what is required and when.
Which Test(s) Should I Take?
Most colleges will accept either the ACT or SAT I. Additionally, most will take the highest scores from different test dates.
Some colleges require SAT II: Subject Tests in addition to the SAT. Some schools will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT II Subject Tests. SAT II Subject Tests are like multiple-choice finals, so it is helpful to study for them and to take them as soon as possible after completing the appropriate course.
Some colleges make standardized test scores an optional requirement.
When Should I Take the ACT and/or SAT?
Juniors should take the ACT or SAT I in the spring between February and June. Make plans to retake the one on which you do better during the Fall of your senior year. As you plan for test dates, take into account factors such as athletic commitments, family travel, scholarship priority deadlines, and any other obligations you might have. When you plan a sequence of testing, consider the following:
· Some schools will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT II: Subject Tests.
· You cannot take SAT I and SAT II: Subject Tests on the same day.
· You can take up to three SAT II: Subject Tests on the same day.
· Not all SAT II: Subject Tests are offered on all testing dates.
· Some schools require or recommend particular SAT II: Subject Tests. Find out from the colleges on your list if any SAT II: Subject Tests are required or recommended.
How Do I Register?
Registration for any and all of the tests you plan to take is your responsibility. Registration materials are available in the Guidance Office, or you can register online at The College Board and ACT Web sites. Registration deadlines are important and are well ahead of the test dates, so plan ahead.
Many colleges require students to have all scores sent directly from the testing agency, and you must request that your scores be sent to the colleges of your choice. Score reporting should include SAT, ACT, and SAT II: Subject Test scores.
What are the Tests and Their Differences?
The following descriptions were taken directly from The College Board and ACT web sites:
The ACT is a national college admission examination that consists of tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science Reasoning. The ACT Assessment tests are curriculum based. The ACT Assessment is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to what you have learned in your high school courses in English, mathematics, and science. Because the ACT tests are based on what is taught in the high school curriculum, students are generally more comfortable with the ACT than they are with the traditional aptitude tests or tests with narrower content. The ACT includes an optional writing assessment.
The SAT I measures verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities that students develop over time, both in and out of school, which are related to successful performance in college. The test consists of seven sections, each timed separately. SAT scores are intended to supplement the secondary school record and help admission officers put local data - such as course work, grades, and class rank - in a national perspective. The SAT I includes a mandatory writing assessment.
SAT II: Subject Tests
SAT II: Subject Tests are designed to measure knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge, in specific subject areas, suchas: English, history and social studies, mathematics, science, and language. The tests are independent of any particular textbook or method of instruction. The content of the tests evolves to reflect current trends in high school curricula, but the types of questions change little from year to year. It is crucial that you consult the web sites or contact the admissions office of colleges that require or strongly recommend the SAT II tests to find out which subject areas you should take. Also be aware that if you need to take SAT IIs, the time to do so is immediately as or after you are finishing the highest level of study in that subject, so that it is fresh in your mind. So, in some rare cases, advanced students may take an SAT II as early as their sophomore year, i.e. if they complete an AP class as a 10th grader.
Do I Need to Take the Writing Assessment?
Some colleges/universities require students to also submit results from a writing assessment—a short essay that students write in response to a prompt. SAT I’s writing assessment is required; if you take the SAT I, then you must take the writing assessment. ACT’s writing assessment is optional, meaning that students have the choice to register to take it or not.
The key is for students to research the colleges’ individual admission requirements. Find out from the colleges you are interested in whether or not they are requiring a writing assessment—and if so, what scores they require. Find a list of which colleges will require a writing assessment online at www.collegeboard.com/newsat/colleges/require.html or http://actrs19.act.org/app3/writPrefRM/.
The PLAN is the pre-ACT, which students may take as sophomores in the Fall. It gives an indication of how students may perform on the ACT, as well as offering a career interest inventory.
All students are strongly encouraged take the PSAT both as sophomores and juniors. The PSAT is a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT I. For juniors, taking the PSAT is the only way to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.
You should take the PSAT/NMSQT in your junior year. Students should also take it in their sophomore year for practice. The test is administered on a school day each October, and test prep classes for the PSAT and SAT I are offered each Fall. Contact the Guidance Office for additional information.