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SAT and ACT Entrance Exam's

As you prepare for college, you'll take at least one or more of the following college entrance exams. Admission requirements vary from school to school. Seek advice from your prospective school when deciding which test to take. (YOU MUST TEST BY DECEMBER) If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, go to the College Counseling Office for a fee waiver.

PSAT/NMSQT

PSAT/NMSQT - usually taken during your junior year, though you may wish to take it sooner for practice.

    The test is split up into three different sections. You’ll have 60 minutes to answer 47 reading questions, 35 minutes to answer 44 writing questions/tasks and 70 minutes on 48 math questions. Like the new SAT, you will not penalized for wrong answers — or for guessing, essentially. Not used to determine college admissions; intended to help students prepare for the SAT. Same format as the SAT, but shorter – a test of verbal and mathematical reasoning.

SAT REASONING TEST

SAT Reasoning Test - usually taken spring of your junior year and fall of your senior year.

2017-2018 Test Dates and Deadlines.

    Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three dimensions for essay. Essay results reported separately. The test is split up into three different sections. You’ll have 65 minutes to answer 52 reading questions, 35 minutes to answer 44 writing questions/tasks, 80 minutes on 58 math questions and 50 minutes for the essay.

    SAT Subject Tests - Entrance requirements vary from college to college. Consult your guidance counselor or college admissions representative to determine which tests you should take. For more information and to register go to Collegeboard.

    Practice test available on Collegeboard website, links on this website or you can pickup a workbook from any College & Scholarship office.

    YOU MUST REQUEST SCORES TO BE SENT TO THE COLLEGES WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR THE TEST. This can save you money!


    Send your scores to colleges you will be applying to

    SAT: Collegeboard.org
    Send to ONE CSU For example, CSU Stanislaus (4713) and all CSU campuses will share scores
    Send to ONE UC For example, UC Merced (4129) and all UC's will share scores

ACT TEST

ACT Test - usually taken spring of your junior year and fall of your senior year.

    Three-hour exam; 215 questions; measures achievement in English, math, reading and science. The ACT Plus includes an optional 40-minute writing test. Scores on each section are averaged to create a composite score. Perfect score is 36. Students in the Midwest and South generally take the ACT.
    ACT Test Dates and Preparing for the TEST

      YOU MUST REQUEST SCORES TO BE SENT TO THE COLLEGES WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR THE TEST. This can save you money!

      ACT: actstudent.org

      Send your scores to colleges you will be applying to.

      Send to ONE CSU and ONE UC.
      For example, CSU Stanislaus (0435) and all 23 CSU campuses will share scores.
      UC Merced (0450) and all UCs will share scores.

DIFFERENCE OF ACT VS SAT TEST

Many students and parents begin the college prep process by comparing the ACT and SAT. Two of the most common questions they ask are:

  • Is the ACT easier than the SAT?
  • Do colleges prefer scores from the SAT or ACT?

The SAT and ACT generally test the same types of content. Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions and merit-based scholarships. The biggest differences between the tests are that the ACT has a Science Test, and there’s one SAT Math Section for which you cannot use a calculator. Colleges don't prefer one over the other, so explore both tests to decide which one is right for you.

Try our QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both?

SATACT
Why Take It

Colleges use SAT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.

Colleges use ACT scores for admissions and merit-based scholarships.

Test Structure
  • Reading
  • Writing & Language
  • Math
  • Essay (Optional)
  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science Reasoning
Essay (Optional)
Length
  • 3 hours (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
  • 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay)
  • 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
Reading

5 reading passages

4 reading passages

Science

None

1 science section testing your critical thinking skills (not your specific science knowledge)

MathCovers:
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis
Covers:
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry and Trigonometry
Calculator Policy

Some math questions don't allow you to use a calculator.

You can use a calculator on all math questions.

Essays

Optional. The essay will test your comprehension of a source text.

Optional. The essay will test how well you evaluate and analyze complex issues.

How It's Scored

Scored on a scale of 400–1600

Scored on a scale of 1–36

ACT versus SAT: How do I choose?

The best way to decide if the SAT or ACT is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test in each. Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit. For example, the pace of the SAT gives you a tad more time to think through problems, while the ACT can be more of a time crunch. Some students really thrive under the pressure of the clock, while others prefer the extra time to ponder a question. Try our QUIZ: SAT, ACT, or Both? to learn more.

COMPARE SAT SCORES