ACT, SAT and PSAT Information
Often the first question about the ACT and SAT that Counselors are asked is "Do I need to take both the ACT and the SAT?" or "Which test should I take?" The answer to the first is, no you don't need to take both because colleges accept either one; however, we might suggest that you take both because you might do better on one than the other.
The answer to the second question is a bit more complicated, depending on the individual. Both the ACT and SAT measure the knowledge and academic skills you’ve gained in high school, and both ask you to demonstrate your problem solving and critical thinking skills; the difference lies in the format and content of the test. Based on the following data (SY 2016-2017), we often recommend that students take the ACT if they choose to only take one test. Ironwood Ridge students are doing exceptionally well on the ACT!
SAT Average Scores for Ironwood Ridge 2017-2018 (221 students tested)
(Arizona ERW: 563, Math: 553)
ACT Average Scores for Ironwood Ridge 2017-2018 (130 students tested)
Composite average: 23.5
(Arizona Composite: 19.2)
Resources for both tests can be found on their respective websites and there are other books available for purchase or online.
Here's a page by The Princeton Review that details the differences between the tests to help you decide which test is right for you.
The PSAT/NMSQT is offered for Juniors and underclassmen through the College Board. Per the College Board, "the PSAT/NMSQT measures the knowledge and skills you've developed in reading, writing and language, and math." For more information on the PSAT go to https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10?navid=bf-psat.
While Sophomores are encouraged to take the exam as a preview and practice for the SAT, only the test taken during Junior year will be considered for the National Merit Scholarship (NMSQT). Current practice tests and sample questions can be found online at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/practice/full-length-practice-test and students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the test through these options.
SAT Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests are just that, tests in specific subject areas. They used to be called the SAT IIs, but for clarification purposes, are now the Subject tests. More information can be found at https://sat.collegeboard.org/about-tests/sat-subject-tests.
These are only required by a select group of colleges, so check the website for the colleges you are considering applying to and make sure you know the requirements!
Watch those deadlines and make sure that you are signed up for the correct test date and center before you submit!
Did you know that you can qualify for scholarships through College Board directly?
Starting with the Class of 2020, 4,000 students over the next five years can earn scholarships ranging from $500–$40,000 through monthly drawings as they start their college journey.
This new scholarship program requires no application, essay, GPA, or test scores. Students earn their chance at scholarships by completing the essential steps all students take in applying to college. Since the launch of the program, nearly 200 students have been awarded a $500 Build Your College List Scholarship and 300 students have been awarded a $1,000 Practice for the SAT® Scholarship.
Do you qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch? If so, did you know that there are fee waivers available for the ACT and SAT? These waivers also give you access to a great selection of practice materials for the ACT and college application waivers from the SAT. See your counselor to find out more about these waivers.
More and more colleges and universities are going "test-optional". The FairTest website explains more about that and lists the schools who have done so.
Advanced Placement tests vs. College Level Examination Program (CLEP), what's the difference? Both tests offer opportunities for students to earn college credit, but the AP program offers a wider variety of tests that are given at the end of a rigorous, college level course taken in high school. CLEP is more widely used by adults returning to school and trying to gain credit for experience they gained in the work force.
Check out Synonym's website for more information and further explanations.