All You Want to Know About SAT / ACT TESTS

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General Facts

  • Most colleges accept either the SAT’s or the ACT’s.
  • Juniors typically begin taking SAT’s or ACT’s during the second semester of their junior year.
  • Students applying to the UC system and planning to take the ACT must sign up for the ACT with Writing because, unlike the SAT, students have a choice of taking it with or without Writing. The UC system includes the Writing test in their student application review process.
  • Tests can be taken more than once.
  • The UC and CSU systems will use the highest scores from either the ACT or SAT.
  • There are strategies involved when taking these tests that students should explore, either with a prep class, resource book or on-line.
  • Each testing company also offers free preparation booklets with sample questions and test content.
  • The UC’s will accept college admission tests taken through December of the senior year.
  • This is also true for the CSU system with the exception of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Diego State, who want them completed by October or November of the senior year.
  • Students should check the testing requirements for private and out-of-state schools, as they may differ from the UC or CSU systems.

SAT

  • Second semester SAT dates are in January, March, May and June.
  • SAT Reasoning test includes Critical Reading, Math and Writing.

ACT

  • Second semester dates are in February, April and June.
  • ACT Assessment differs because it includes four sections: English, Math, Reading and Science Reasoning.

SAT Subject Tests

  • UC’s and many private schools also require SAT subject tests.
  • The UC’s require two subject tests in two different subject areas. The subject areas include history, literature, math, science and language.
  • Students should take the subject tests in May or June when they have almost completed a school year of the subject.
  • For example, students enrolled in AP US History who are preparing for the May AP test will find they are well prepared for the May or June US History subject test. The same goes for AP Biology, Chemistry, and Math, etc.
  • If a student chooses to take Math as one of the two subject tests, the UC system wants Math Level 2.
  • For the Chemistry test, students should at least have taken Honors Chemistry, as it is a “time intensive and difficult” test.
  • If Language is used as one of the subject test, the Language with listening for native, fluent speakers is only given in November. Language without listening is given during the other test dates.
  • AP European History does not necessarily prepare students for the World History subject test, because the subject test focuses on non-European cultures.
  • The UC’s will use the two highest subject test scores in their admission reviews.
  • The subject tests take one hour, and students can take up to three on a single test date, although that’s pretty tiring.
  • The CSU system does not require the subject tests.

Source: Mary Church, DVHS Career Center, mchurch@calhigh.net
http://www.dvhigh.net/ptsa/DVHSSept08newsletterver2.2.pdf

Last Updated: October 27, 2008
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