Your SAT/ACT scores are a key component of your college applications. Many colleges require SAT/ACT scores as a part of the admissions process.
What is the SAT?
The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The goal is to provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. That said, it is just one factor in the admissions process in addition to high school GPA, academic transcript, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, interviews, and personal essays. The weight placed on SAT scores in admissions varies from school to school. For more specific information on the importance of SAT scores at the schools you're interested in, check out college profiles and contact the admissions offices directly.
Each section of the SAT is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale, making the highest possible score 1600. There are two SAT sections: Math, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, plus an optional Essay. The Essay results are reported separately. Start to finish, the test will take you approximately three hours and 50 minutes.
SAT registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each test date.
What are the SAT Subject Tests?
The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour multiple-choice tests administered on each SAT test date (except in March). If you're applying to a selective college, you'll probably need to submit scores from at least two SAT Subject Tests. As you develop your college list, keep track of each school's admission requirements and remember that if a school “recommends” Subject Tests, you should go ahead and take them.
Tests are available in the following subjects:
- English Literature,
- History (U.S. or World),
- Language (Chinese, French, Hebrew, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Spanish or German),
- Math (Level 1 or Level 2),
- and Science (Biology-Ecological, Biology-Molecular, Chemistry or Physics)
What is the PSAT and why is it important?
The PSAT won’t count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. Some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn’t stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn’t ignore it either. Use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and an important guidepost on your college admissions journey.
When is the PSAT?
The PSAT is held in October at the school and scores are distributed in early December. Parents are invited to a Parent PSAT Review Meeting to discuss the scores received. The meeting this year will be held in December. Check the school calendar for specific date, time and location.
What does the PSAT test?
The PSAT has two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. You’ll encounter passage-based questions—sometimes accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts—and math problems drawing upon algebra, geometry, and a little trig.
How is the PSAT scored?
Each section is scored on a scale of 160–760, making a the highest score 1520.
What is the ACT?
The ACT is offered nationally every year in September, October, December, February*, April and June. Beginning in 2018, the test will also be offered in July.The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The idea is to provide colleges with one common criterion that can be used to compare all applicants. The weight placed on ACT scores varies from school to school. Other important factors that schools consider in their admissions decisions are your high school GPA, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, interviews and personal essays. For more specific information on the importance of ACT scores at the schools you're interested in, contact the admissions offices directly.
What specifically does the ACT test?
The ACT has four sections: English, Reading, Math and Science, as well as an optional 40-minute writing test. Some schools may require the writing test, so be aware of prospective school’s requirements before you take it.
How is the ACT scored?
You'll earn one ACT score (1 to 36) on each test (English, Math, Reading and Science) and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these four tests. Usually, when people ask about your score, they're referring to your composite ACT score. The composite score falls between 1 and 36. The national average is about 21. If, for example, you scored 31 on the English, 30 on the Math, 29 on the Reading and 30 on the Science, your composite ACT score would be 30.
You'll receive subscores in English, Math and Reading that range between 1 and 18. These scores provide you with more detail about your performance, but they are not actually used by colleges or universities.
The ACT includes an optional essay, known as the writing test. If you take the writing test, you will receive a writing test subscore and a combined English/writing score.
When should I take the ACT?
Students have traditionally taken the ACT in the spring of their junior year and, if necessary, again in the fall of their senior year. However, more and more students are choosing to take their first ACT earlier, such as during the fall of their junior year. This gives them more flexibility to retake the ACT test one or more times, or to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests. View the 2017–2018 ACT test dates below:
How do I register?
Registration deadlines fall approximately five weeks before each ACT test date. You can get registration materials from your school counselor, or call ACT, Inc. at 319–337–1270 and they'll send you a registration packet. You can also register online on the ACT website.
Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
Is one harder? Is one better? More prestigious? More useful? If only it were that simple. In most cases, colleges will accept either exam and do not demonstrate a preference for one over the other, so it's up to you to figure out which test to take. Click https://www.princetonreview.com/college/sat-act for more information about SAT vs. ACT.
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