• Additional Standardized Testing Information

    The SAT and the ACT are accepted by almost every four-year college and university in the country that requires standardized test scores.  If a college requires one of these tests, they only require one so it is not necessary for students to take both exams.

    Each exam charges a fee but fee waivers are available in the College and Career Center for those who qualify. Please see Lisa Neumaier for more information about fee waivers.
    Starting in September 2018, students who use a fee waiver to register for the ACT will be able to send up to 20 free score reports to the institutions of their choosing with no expiration date. Under the new College Board policy - which goes into effect Spring 2018 - low-income students who take the SAT will be able to send unlimited score reports to colleges.
    For students who do not use a fee waiver when they register for these tests, they can send their results  to four colleges at the time of registration at no charge. Please consider taking advantage of this free service even if you are not 100% sure that you will apply to those schools. There is no disadvantage to having colleges see early scores, nor does it commit you to applying to those schools.  There is a small window of time after registration to also send scores for free but after that College Board and ACT charges a fee to send official scores.
    Keep in mind, not all schools require standardized tests for admission. For more information, go

    New for 2018-19
    A growing number of colleges and universities are helping students with the financial burden of sending offical test scores by allowing students to self-report test scores. Click here for more information.
    Standardized Tests
    The format of the ACT and SAT are different and students may perform better on one or the other. Following is a description of the various standardized tests.


    The ACT is made up of tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. An optional Writing test is also available and we recommend students take the Writing portion as many colleges will require it.
    Click here for more information on each section of the ACT.
    Students can register for the ACT at www.actstudent.org 
    The SAT
    The SAT is made up of tests in Reading, Writing & Language, Mathematics, and an optional Essay. We recommend that students sign up for the SAT with Essay as many colleges will require it.
    Click here for more information on each section of the SAT.
    Students should register online for the SAT at www.collegeboard.org 
    Key differences between the SAT and ACT
    To compare SAT scores with ACT scores, click here

    Comparing PSAT and ACT Scores

    SAT Subject Tests

    SAT Subject Tests, administered by College Board, are standardized tests that measure a student’s knowledge in particular subject areas.   While most colleges do not require Subject Tests, more selective schools require or recommend them in the admission process. The general rule is that the importance of the Subject Tests increases with the selectivity of the school. It is suggested that, if the college “recommends” you take the Subject Tests, even if not “required”, you take it and submit the scores. 

    Most colleges that consider Subject Tests ask for scores from two of them. However, since College Board allows you to take three Subject Tests on the same test date, consider testing in three subjects. That way, you can utilize your best two – of the three- test scores. Subject Test are each one hour in length and consist entirely of multiple-choice questions. Please note that students can not take the SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Tests on the same date.

    Students are eligible to take Subject Tests any time during high school, but the optimal time is to take them as soon after the completion of the relevant class so that the subject matter is fresh.

    Please note the SAT Subject Tests are not required for admission to the University of California; however, students may submit scores if they wish to demonstrate academic mastery. Competitive majors on some campuses may recommend a particular SAT subject test. For more information, go to: 

    Students must create an account first before registering for these exams and can find that information on the websites. Here are the links to register:

    SAT and SAT Subject Tests: http://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register

    Scores for both the ACT and the SAT are usually available online to students, high schools, and colleges within two to three weeks after the test date. There is valuable information on your score report and it is a good idea to review this with your counselor to understand your results.
    Recommended Timing for Testing
    We recommend taking the the ACT or SAT in the spring of your junior year and SAT Subject Tests, if required, immediately following completion of the corresponding course, usually in June.  In the senior year, consider retaking the SAT in October after additional preparation over the summer. Students may also take tests in November and December of their senior year but should check with individual colleges for specific testing requirements and deadlines. SAT and SAT Subject Tests cannot be taken on the same day.

    Prior to taking the SAT, the PSAT is offered every October by the College Board. Most students take it in the fall of their junior year and the student’s score acts as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSQT), a large prestigious recognition and academic scholarship program. Although sophomores can also take the PSAT, only junior year  scores qualify students for NMSQT.  

    Click here for some frequently asked questions about the PSAT. 

    If you took the PSAT/NMSQT, you can use those scores to unlock a free SAT study plan on Kahn Academy. After sharing your scores, your  Official SAT Practice experience will be completely customized to your strengths and weaknesses. All it takes is a few steps to link their College Board and Khan Academy accounts while signing up. Click here to learn more: https://signup.collegeboard.org/official-sat-practice/?SFMC_cid=EM262342-&rid=85175293


    Students testing with accommodations

    If the student plans to take the SAT, please see this page for information about how to acquire accommodations through College Board: https://www.tamdistrict.org/domain/1532

    If the student plans to take the ACT, the family should contact our SDD Coordinator, Kyle Eslman, to start the process to see if accommodations can get approved. Her email address is kelsman@tamdistrict.org