Students who plan to apply to 4-year college must take ACT or SAT
Every student who plans to apply for scholarships and/or is considering attending a four-year college or university at any time in his/her life is strongly advised to take the SAT and/or ACT exams for the first time during second semester of his/her junior year.Almost all four-year colleges and universities require scores from one of these exams as part of the application process. In addition, many scholarship applications require applicants to provide their scores from either SAT or ACT.
The SAT and ACT are administered several times throughout the school year.The registration deadline is generally about a month prior to the test date. Students are encouraged to register early to obtain their first choice of a testing location and to avoid paying an extra late-registration fee.
Each test takes about 4.5 hours to complete.The SAT assesses a student’s critical reading, writing, and math reasoning abilities. On some SAT questions, there is a slight penalty for a wrong answer. The ACT tests students in four areas: English, math, reading and science reasoning. There are no penalties for wrong answers on ACT. In addition, students who take the ACT may opt to take an essay portion. Most colleges require the essay score if students submit an ACT score to them for admission.
A student may take either the SAT or ACT several times, as long as a specified number of days elapses before a re-test. A separate registration and fee is required each time the test is taken.The student submits his/her highest scores to the college(s) of his/her choice. Most colleges require the scores to be from one test session.
Students are advised to take at least one of the standardized exams during second semester of their junior year. By this time, students typically have completed most of the coursework covered on the tests.Also, if a student does not score as well as he/she needs to for colleges’ admissions standards, there still would be time to study and retake either or both of the exams and obtain the results prior to college application deadlines.
Almost all colleges accept scores from either the SAT or ACT.However, a few schools specify which of the tests they require students to take as part of their admissions process.In addition, a few colleges (none in WashingtonState) require one or more SAT subject tests. Each SAT subject test focuses on a specific academic discipline such as chemistry or a foreign language. Students should be sure they know the test requirements of colleges or universities to which they plan to apply.
SAT or ACT are not required for admission to a community college. Students who plan to earn an associate’s degree from a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university as an incoming junior usually are not required to take the SAT or ACT, as long as their cumulative GPA at the community college was ~2.75 or higher. However, students choosing this pathway are advised to check with an academic advisor
at the four-year college or univesity to which they plan to transfer about that particular school’s admissions policy. (The University of Washington requires ALL undergraduate applicants, regardless of how many college credits they already have earned, to submit an SAT or ACT score.)
To register to take one of the exams, students can obtain a packet from their high school's CounselingCenter or register on-line.The SAT web site address is www.collegeboard.com.The ACT web site address is www.actstudent.org.
Counselors have a list of study tools and classes helpful to students as they prepare to do their best on these rigorous standardized tests.
College-bound students in grades 9-11 advised to take PSAT in October
An effective way for sophomores and juniors to practice for the SAT is to take the PSAT (Preliminary or Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test). The PSAT is optional - - but recommended - - for four-year college-bound sophomores and juniors.
Each high school is allowed to administer the PSAT only once each year, on either a Wednesday or a Saturday in mid October.Contact your high school's Career Center to obtain this year's PSAT test date and registration fee.
The PSAT is designed to predict what score a student likely will obtain when he/she takes the SAT. The PSAT also is used for juniors as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSQT). Juniors who score exceptionally high on the PSAT could qualify to earn one or more scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Prior to taking the PSAT, students must register and pay a fee in their school’s Business Office.
Students who take the PSAT do not only receive a report of their scores. They also receive their test booklet back with an accounting of which questions they answered correctly and which they answered incorrectly. This information serves as a valuable guide as they focus their efforts to study strategically for the SAT.