Students take either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT) as part of the college application process. Almost every student that attends a college has taken the ACT, SAT, or both. What exactly are these tests? Which one should you take? We strongly encourage students to take practice exams of both tests at least once. This will give you an idea of which test showcases your abilities, and you can concentrate on increasing the score of your “best” test.
*As of September 2020, many schools have opted Test Optional in response to COVID-19. Additionally, the University of California Board of Regents unanimously approved the adoption of a Test Optional admissions policy for the graduating high school classes of 2021 and 2022, then a Test Blind admissions policy for the classes of 2023 and beyond. However, a court injunction, issued August 31, 2020, ordered the UCs to immediately cease using standardized test scores (ACT or SAT) for admission or scholarship decisions. This ruling is not the final word, so please check the UC’s Exam Requirement before proceeding with your decision whether or not to take the ACT or SAT exam.
The ACT is composed of four multiple-choice sections-English, Math, Reading, and Science-and one optional essay section-Writing. Total testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes for the ACT without Writing and 3 hours and 35 minutes for the ACT with Writing.
Get more information and register for the ACT here.
The College Board’s SAT test is comprised of two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing is comprised of two tests, one focused on Reading and one focused on Writing & Language. The Math section is comprised of a single test with two components – a no-calculator portion and a calculator-allowed portion. The SAT also includes an optional Essay. Some schools may require the Essay, so be sure to ask before you take the SAT.
Get more information and register for the SAT here.
SAT Subject Matter Tests:
While SATs are designed to measure your reasoning skills and overall college readiness, SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your knowledge in specific subject areas. Subject Tests are administered on the same days as the SAT with the exception of the March SAT (no Subject Tests are available on the March test date). Different SAT Subject Tests have different formats, so you should know what to expect going into each one should you choose to take any.
Many colleges do not require students to take the subject test for the SAT, but some may make the Subject Test a requirement of application. Please check with your prospective college or university admissions office to see what test(s) are required for admission.
Learn more about the SAT Subject Tests here.
Test Fee Waivers:
Students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch, may also be eligible to receive fee waivers for the ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject Tests. All Free and Reduced students may receive two waivers for the “regular test” (ACT and SAT) and two waivers for the SAT Subject Tests. Priority is given to seniors for the fall semester and the juniors in the spring semester.
Qualifying students may obtain a waiver by speaking with Ms. Hodali in the Magnet Office.
Free Test Prep & Additional Resources:
- Khan Academy: SAT test prep
- Official SAT Practice: college readiness partnership between College Board + Khan Academy
- FREE ACT Test Prep Guide
- Varsity Tutors: Practice Tests
- Revolution Prep: SAT/ACT Practice Test* + Score Review (partnership with the High School Parent Committee)
- SAT Subject Test Section Topics and Practice Exams
*Practice Test Dates are time sensitive. If you miss the current testing date, please check back later for next year’s dates.