In the course of your life, you will take many tests. Some of those tests are the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT. All three of those tests are college readiness tests, tests that show you and colleges how prepared you are to take college-level classes.
The PSAT is the first college readiness test you can take. The PSAT is a test that will show you how well you would have done on the SAT if you had taken it on that day. You take the PSAT for the first time in 8th grade. Mrs. Zambrano says you start taking the test at that age to become “more familiar with what the test presents.” You will take the PSAT three more times after that, in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. The 11th grade test will be how you enter the Nati
onal Merit Scholarship Program, an “academic competition for recognition and college scholarships”, according to their website. Around 7,500 people will win this competition, and will be able to receive three types of scholarships: $2,500 National Merit Scholarships, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards. The National Merit website says “Every year some 1,200 National Merit® Program participants, who are outstanding but not Finalists, are awarded Special Scholarships provided by corporations and business organizations.”
The SAT is one of the two tests that you can send to colleges to show them how ready you are to take their classes. The SAT testing fee is $46 or $57 if you’re taking it with writing. The SAT has two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math. Both sections are scored between 200-800, so the lowest score you could get is a 400, and the highest a 1600. Both sections are also made up of different subsections; in reading, the subsections are: analysis in science, analysis in history/social studies, command of evidence, and words in context. In math, they are: heart of algebra, analysis in history/social studies, analysis in science, and passport to advanced math. When you apply for colleges, you must include the scores you got on this test (or the ACT.) There are many ways to study for the SAT. Mrs. Forge says that Legacy has “practice study guides [in] Edgenuity” so students can study at their own pace. To gain access to those study guides, talk to Mrs. Forge. Khan Academy also has a free SAT preparation course that is linked with your College Board account, so Khan Academy can see what you’re struggling in, and help you practice those specific skills. There are also SAT practice books, if online studying isn’t your style.
The ACT is the other test you can take to show colleges how ready you are for college. The ACT tests you in four subjects: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. You can take the test with or without the 40-minute writing section. If you take it with writing, the testing fee is $62.50 or $46.00 without writing. According to the ACT website, the ACT is “designed to measure academic achievement in English, mathematics, reading, and science.” The individual sections are scored from 1-36, then averaged to get your composite score, which will also range from 1-36. The ACT website includes links to different ACT study guides, to help test takers get ready for the test.
If you’re not happy with your score the first time you take the SAT or ACT, you can take them again as many times as you want. You will have to pay the fee every time, but if that’s not possible, both the SAT and ACT offer fee waivers. If you have more questions about any of these tests, visit www.act.org or www.collegeboard.com.