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Standardized Testing for College Admissions

Standardized Testing for College Admissions

Tests Used for College Admissions

Tests Showing Mastery of Specific Subjects

Preliminary SAT (PSAT)

Tests Used for College Admissions

The SAT and ACT are commonly used by colleges during the admissions process.  All colleges will accept either test.  Students who prefer not to take either test still have options as a growing list of schools are now “test optional” meaning students are not required to send test scores for admission.  Visit FairTest for a list of schools.  The SAT is more of an aptitude test with less emphasis on a student’s high school curriculum, although this is scheduled to change in 2016.  The ACT is more of a high school knowledge test, based on subjects most students study in high school.  The tests are offered several times during the school year; the websites have instructions for signing up, getting ready for the test, and practice questions as well as schedules.

SAT - The SAT is one of the tests often used by colleges during the admissions process.  It tests knowledge of reading, writing and math.  Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year.  More information is available from College Board SAT.

ACT - The ACT is a test often used by colleges during the admissions process.  The ACT test is based on common high school curriculum in math, English, science, reading and an optional writing component.  More information is available from ACT.

Tests Showing Mastery of Specific Subjects

The SAT Subject Tests and the AP tests enable a student to demonstrate their mastery of certain subjects.  Many colleges will provide credit for AP courses taken in high school if the student attains a high score on the AP test.  This could mean a student is able to graduate early or take more advanced classes at college.  The SAT Subject Tests show colleges that the student has mastered

SAT Subject Tests - The SAT Subject Tests indicate a student’s knowledge of a specific  subject.  Test scores may help differentiate a student applicant and are sometimes required by a college, especially for admission into certain majors such as engineering.  The tests are offered several times during the year and you may take multiple subject tests on one date.  More information is available from College Board SAT Subject Tests.

AP Tests -  These tests show mastery of material taught in an Advanced Placement course.  AP courses are college-level classes taken during high school.   AP tests are offered in May and are taken at the high school.  Students are not required to take the tests.  More information, including registration, is available at College Board AP.

Preliminary SAT (PSAT)

PSAT - The Preliminary SAT test provides practice for the SAT and entry into the National Merit Scholarship program for juniors.  The PSAT tests students in math, critical reading, and writing.  Questions are not based upon high school course curriculum, they are based upon skills and knowledge a student has developed over time.  The top scoring students taking the test during their junior year across the country receive recognition from the National Merit Scholarship program and may be eligible for scholarships.  The PSAT is offered in the fall at the high school.  More information is available at College Board PSAT.