Important Tests for College
Most Four-Year Colleges and Universities require either students take either the SAT or the ACT (see below for more information) for admissions.
It is recommended that students take a preliminary college test in October of their sophomore or junior year. If you take the test in grade 11 and do well, you might qualify for participation in the National Merit Scholarship competition. The PSAT provides you with practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. You will receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses.
SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests
The SAT reasoning test is taken during your junior or senior year. The SAT Reasoning Test is made up of two sections: critical reading with writing and mathematics. It is scored from 200 to 800 on each test for a total possible score of SAT Subject Tests should be taken at the conclusion of your junior year, the beginning of your senior year, or when you have completed a specific subject. They are designed to measure knowledge skills and application in specific subjects. Starting with the graduating class of 2012, the University of California schools are no longer requiring this exam for all admissions. Certain impacted majors will, however, still require specific subject tests. Schools such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. will require as many as three subject area tests. Check with your school of choice for their exact requirements.
ACT (American College Test)
Most Colleges and universities in the United States accept either the SAT or the ACT for admission. The ACT has four required sections: English, mathematics, reading comprehension and science. The optional Writing Test measures skills in high school English classes and entry level college composition courses.
Often students take these college prep tests multiple times to improve scores as colleges generally take the highest score in each subject from more than one testing in deciding to accept a student. This is often referred to as "super-scoring". Some colleges will even look at the best score in one subject on the SAT and pair it with the better score on the other subject on the ACT to build the best profile for the applicant. Resently, the ACT has made some important changes to their reporting proceedures and will now allow testing of individual sub-tests once the overall test has been taken before. ACT will even super-score a composit score for students based on multiple testings. Click here for more information.College Entrance Exams Some private and out of state universities may require students to take an entrance exam. Others may require placement exam if a certain level of in Math and English are not demonstrated on a student's transcript or through SAT or ACT scores. Check with the college/university that you anticipate attending to find out which exam or exams are accepted or needed as part of the admissions process. Almost all schools require the SAT or ACT.