College Admission Tests
The ACT and SAT tests are two separately administered college admissions tests required by the vast majority of US four-year colleges and universities. Of the two, the SAT is the most widely required, taken and utilized by admissions committees to determine an applicant’s eligibility for admission. Some schools allow either test to be submitted for consideration and students applying to these institutions are advised to take both tests and submit the better grade to their colleges of choice.
The SAT and ACT testing require pre-registration online and are administered on various schedules — usually at public schools — on Saturdays throughout the year. Many high school students have begun to take the SAT during both their junior and senior years to achieve the highest possible score. Both the ACT and the SAT tests offer free practice SAT and ACT testing online and off and there are many private tutoring companies to help prepare students for these tests for fees.
Although not required by all schools, the ACT is nonetheless accepted by all US colleges and universities. ACT testing consists of 215 multiple-choice questions that takes approximately three and one-half hours to complete, including a 35-minute break. The ACT organization has recently added an optional writing test to the exam, resulting in additional test-taking time requirements. The basic ACT test fee is $34 and the ACT + Writing is $49.50 and allows the student to take the examination administered six times per year. Score results can vary from 1 to 36 and many schools require a minimum composite score of 15. Many students opt to retake the ACT and this results in a higher score for the majority of students. However, no single student can take the test more than 12 times.
The Basic SAT Test measures critical reading, writing and math skills. SAT testing is composed of 10 sections that require a total test time of three hours and forty-five minutes. The SAT’s 10 sections include a new 25-minute essay, six 25-minute mixed skills test, two 20-minute mixed skills testing and one 10-minute multiple-choice writing test. There are three short breaks during the testing periods and test-takers are encouraged to bring snacks and drinks for refreshment. The registration fee for the SAT is $49. The SAT organization also offers tests according to subject. More information is available on the test website. The basic SAT is scored from 200 to 800 per reading, writing and math. The writing composition essay is scored separately.