College Corner: SAT & ACT Tests



The PSAT is being offered at New West on a date to be announced. It is a practice test, not seen by colleges. For 11th-grade testers, this test is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The SAT or ACT is required for admission to most colleges and universities. Both tests are accepted by every school and many students have a preference or strength in one test or the other. Therefore, I suggest that everyone consider both tests and find the test that is best for you. Practice booklets are available in the college center.

Students should begin taking an official SAT or ACT sometime in their junior year. You may test as many times as you want. You can continue testing into the fall of senior year.

The SAT is offered seven times a year in the United States and six times at international sites. The test:

Takes three hours and 45 minutes

Consists of 10 separately timed sections:
• Three sections test critical reading (70 minutes total)
• Three sections test mathematics (70 minutes total)
• Three sections test writing (60 minutes total)
• One variable (unscored) section tests critical reading, mathematics, or writing (25 minutes total)

Assesses subject matter learned in high school and problem solving skills in three areas:
• Critical reading
• Mathematics
• Writing

Includes three kinds of questions:
• Multiple-choice questions
Student-produced responses (mathematics only)
Essay question

The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Math, Reading, Science

The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test.

ACT results are accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S.

The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing).

The ACT is administered on six test dates within the 50 United States and District of Columbia—in September, October, December, February, April, and June. In other locations, the ACT is administered on five test dates—all of the above dates except September.

The basic registration fee includes score reports for up to four college choices, if you list valid codes when you register.