COLLEGE ENTRANCE TESTS 101:
WHAT DO ALL THOSE LETTERS MEAN??
As students prepare for college, there will be whole bunch of letters thrown at you: PSAT, NMSQT, SAT, ACT… The following is a guide to College Entrance Tests and how to find which one works for you.
PSAT:Your Chance to PRACTICE!
The PSAT is the official practice test of the SAT. It is given once a year in October. It is a voluntary exam at Calabasas High School, meaning you are not required to take a PSAT. Colleges do not ask for a PSAT and do not require it for any student In 2015, College Board, the company overseeing the PSAT, SAT and other exams, changed to a “Suite of PSAT Exams.” The traditional PSAT that CHS gives every year is now offered to 10th and 11th graders only. College Board does produce an “8/9 PSAT” but currently CHS is not offering that test to 9th graders.
For 10th graders, PSAT is just a practice. For 11th graders, PSAT is the eligibility test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. This is a prestigious designation whose first eligibility marker is a PSAT score in the top-top percentages nationwide.
PSAT AT A GLANCE:
What:PSAT is the official practice test of the SAT.
Who: Open to 10th graders for strictly practice. Open to 11th graders as practice and first eligibility for National Merit Scholarship designation
When: Once a year in October at Calabasas High School.
How: Registration is always online on CHS website then in-person at the student store.
Cost: $25.00. Announcements regarding date and registration made at the beginning of the school year. REGISTER EARLY! No LATE registration for PSAT and no walk-ins or stand-bys.
SAT: Show ‘em What You Know!
The SAT is a College Entrance Exam, meaning most colleges in the United States want to see what you’ve learned in high school and are you ready to take that knowledge into college. One way colleges can see what you know is by having students take timed standardized tests. The SAT, along with the ACT, are acceptable tests for every 4-year college you’ll apply to with very few exceptions.
The SAT is given seven (7) times in a school year: October, November, December, January, March, May and June. It is not given over the summer. In 2015, College Board announced it was changing the SAT, which is now called “the redesigned SAT.” As of March 2016, all SATs given will be the redesigned SAT.
It is advised that college-bound students start thinking about taking their first SAT during their Junior year of high school. Preparation is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Never take the OFFICIAL SAT to “see how you like it.” In some cases, All your test scores will go to colleges!
So What Is It??
The SAT is made up of different sections that measure Reading, Writing and Math:
Section 1: Reading Passages with questions. 65 minutes, 52 questions.
Section 2: Writing and Language. 35 minutes, 44 questions.
Section 3: Math, No Calculator. 25 minutes, 20 questions.
Section 4: Math, With Calculator. 55 minutes, 38 questions.
Essay: Read passage and answer essay prompt. 50 minutes. OPTIONAL Section but
it’s advised that every student test with the essay section.
SAT has returned to the olden-days of the 1600 total score (instead of the 2400). Your score will be the sum of the total Math score plus the total Reading/Writing score. For more information on the details of the score structure, please go tohttps://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/structure.
All SAT Test Registration must be done on the College Board website at www.collegeboard.org or sat.org/register. Cost is $54.50 with Essay, $43.00 without Essay (Essay highly recommended). Watch for registration deadlines! There are late-fees for registering after the deadline and you may not be able to take the test at the location you want.
SATs AT A GLANCE:
What:SAT is an official college entrance exam accepted by almost all US colleges.
Who: All high school juniors and seniors should expect to need SAT or ACT to apply to a 4-year college.
When: 7 times during the school year: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, March, May, June. No summers.
How: Register on www.collegeboard.org or sat.org/register.
ACT: Show ‘em What You Know, plus Science!
The ACT is another choice of a College Entrance Exam that is accepted at all colleges in the United States. The ACT is very similar to the SAT except that it includes a “science” section. Don’t let this scare you – it is not science where you need to memorize periodic tables and formulas. The Science Section of the ACT is made up questions involving charts and tables on the subject of science, but is more similar to math word problems.
The ACT is given six (6) times a year in Sept, Oct, Dec, Feb, April and June. It is never given over the summer.
So what is it?
ACT is made up of 5 sections:
Section 1: English, grammar and theoretical skills. 45 minutes, 75 questions.
Section 2: Math (calculator allowed). 60 minutes, 60 questions.
Section 3: Reading passages with questions. 35 minutes, 40 questions.
Section 4: Science, analyze information. 35 minutes, 40 questions.
Section 5: Essay, analyze an issue and discuss your own perspective. 40 minutes. Essay is
OPTIONAL, but it is highly advised that students take the ACT with the Essay.
The ACT is scored out of 36, averaging all the 4 sections, each out of a total of 36. For more information on ACT scoring please go tohttp://www.actstudent.org/scores/understand/.
All ACT registration is done online at www.actstudent.org. The cost is $39.50 without the Writing portion and $56.50 with the writing portion. There are late fees for registering after the deadline and you may not get your first choice of location, so register early!
ACT AT A GLANCE:
What:ACT is an official college entrance exam accepted by all US colleges.
Who: All high school juniors and seniors should expect to need ACT and/or SAT to apply to a 4-year college.
When: 6 times during the school year: Sept, Oct, Dec, Feb, April and June. No summers.
How: Register on www.actstudent.org.
I TOOK ALL MY TESTS.
HOW DO MY COLLEGES SEE THEM?
You’ve taken your SAT and/or ACT, you are happy with your scores and you’re now done taking college entrance tests. What happens next?
If You are a Junior:Congratulations! You are finished testing before your Senior year and you can relax. Keep reading for the next steps…
If You are a Senior: Every college you apply to will be expecting to see your official score reports. This means the ACT and/or SAT scores must be sent directly from the testing company. You must order the score reports from ACT and/or College Board to be sent directly to each college you applied to.
For ACT: Go to ACTstudent.org, log into your account and follow the instructions for “Sending Scores.”
For SAT: Go to Collegeboard.org, log into your account and follow the instructions for “Sending Scores.”
Sending to UC Schools: By sending your SAT/ACT scores to one (1) UC, all UC schools will share the test score. This will save you money when requesting test scores.
Sending to Cal State Schools: Look up “California State University Mentor” on the SAT/ACT college locator. By sending one (1) test score to “California State University Mentor” all Cal State schools will share your test scores. This will save you money when requesting scores.