High School » Types of Standardized Tests

Types of Standardized Tests

Unless test-optional, most colleges and universities use primarily the SAT or ACT in evaluating an applicant. Because these tests are nationally standardized, they serve as common denominators, giving the Admissions Officer a point of direct comparison for all applicants. AP exam scores are sometimes used for course placement or credit.
The ACT is an exam typically taken by Juniors and Seniors. It consists of four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science Reasoning, and Writing. The five areas also produce a composite score. The writing component of the ACT is optional. Consult with your college counselor about taking the writing component at least once, as some colleges require it. For more information, go to www.actstudents.org. Sunday testing is available, and the first time you register for Sunday testing, you can register online.

The PreACT is a 10th Grade multiple-choice paper assessment and a good predictor for achievement on the ACT. The test will last 2 hours and 15 minutes. The results include scores from English, Math, Reading and Science tests, a PreACT composite score, STEM and Text Complexity scores and a projected ACT score. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain practice with test taking before it ever really counts.

The PSAT/NMSQT Reasoning Test is administered in either October to Freshmen and Juniors. The test will last 2 hours and 45 minutes: one 60-minute reading section, one 35-minute writing section, one 75-minute math section (25 of those minutes are taken without a calculator). The PSAT/NMSQT serves as practice for the SAT and to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship program. For additional information about the content of the PSAT/ NMSQT, visit the College Board website. Selection for National Merit commendation or semifinalist status is based on a selection index, which changes each year. Students are notified of National Merit status in the fall of their Senior Year, and finalists can receive up to $2,500 in scholarships.

The SAT Reasoning Test is taken by Juniors and Seniors. Students should consult with their parents and College Counselor to create his/her own standardized testing plan. Students may sit for the SAT Reasoning test as many times as desired; however, we do not recommend taking them more than three times. Most colleges will accept the highest critical reading, math and writing scores from the various testing attempts. Please consult with each college/university on their testing policy.

SAT Subjects Tests are one hour exams that are intensive in a particular subject area, such as US History, Chemistry, Biology. These exams are only required by some Ivy League universities or highly selective engineering programs (usually, in a non-Covid year - this year they are not required by many schools). Students typically take the subject test upon completion of the corresponding AP class, such as World History. Please see Mrs. Levy if you have specific questions about this.SAT Subject
Tests are given in 20 areas including Languages, Sciences, Histories and Social Studies, Math and English Literature, German, Modern Hebrew (Available one time/year). Each test offered on the same day as the SAT Reasoning Test. It is not possible to sit for the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests on the same day.