College Admissions Testing
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors take the PSAT in October each year. Score reports are typically released in December/January.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT) are standardized tests that assess college readiness. Taking the test is required for most 4-year institutions. Scores are used by colleges to determine who to admit and determine who gets and how much merit-based scholarships. The SAT and ACT generally test the same types of content; however, there are some differences. Colleges accept both tests equally but prefer whichever test gives you the best comparative score. The colleges use conversion charts when comparing SATs and ACTs. Taking a practice test of each can help you determine which test you perform better on.
You may not need to take the SAT or ACT if you are planning on going to a community college, a trade school, the military (military entrance exam is the ASVAB), or directly into work. Also, some 4-year schools are becoming ‘Testing Optional,’ which means that they will review your application for acceptance without taking SAT/ACT scores into consideration. Please be aware that not submitting a test may impact merit-based scholarships. See the list of test-optional schools at www.fairtest.org/university/optional.
Which Test is Best for You?
The SAT might be better for you if...
The ACT might be better for you if...
You like to read the "classics."
You are a fast reader.
You are good at doing math by hand.
You are good at mental math.
You don't like doing science.
You like science.
You like informational graphics.
You're not as confident
in your reading skills.
You're good at analyzing text.
You're good at winning arguments.
How do I sign up?
You must go to www.collegeboard.org to register for the SAT and www.act.org to register for the ACT. Please note: if you take the SAT in October or June, it is given at HHHS (registration is required). The cost is approximately $50. If you are on Free and Reduced Lunch, please see your School Counselor for a fee waiver. When you register for the test, you will have the ability to add up to four colleges/universities to automatically receive your score report for free (if you choose to do this, confirm that those schools super score).
Test scores must be submitted to each college that requires them by the student through the appropriate testing agency (collegeboard.com / act.org). Keep in mind that scores take approximately four weeks to get to colleges, so it is important to send scores as soon as possible. Also, there may be a fee associated with sending test scores to each college.
Please note that many schools Superscore or utilize Score Choice. Superscoring is what many colleges do with the test scores you submit in your application. They look at all the scores you send, take your highest score from each test section, and combine those high scores from different test dates into a highest-possible composite score or superscore. They use this ‘superscored’ number when considering your application. With Score Choice, you make a choice about which scores to send. The scores from test dates you choose not to send will never be seen by colleges that allow Score Choice. Only the scores you choose to send will be eligible for Superscoring by colleges that allow Score Choice.
Some schools require you to send all your scores (no Score Choice). They may also Superscore. It is important to research which testing policy the schools you are applying to use.
What If I Don't Get the Score I Want?
If you don't get the score you want after preparing and taking the tests, remember that most schools admit prospective students based on a holistic evaluation of your application components. So perhaps you test low, but you have a higher GPA or another aspect of your application that is stronger. Also, you may also want to consider schools with lower score ranges or schools that are testing optional.
SAT w/Essay & SAT Subject Tests
As of June 2021, The College Board will no longer offer the SAT with Essay or SAT Subject Tests. Test-takers will still be able to get score reports from previous test administrations through their College Board accounts.