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College Admissions Testing is a standard requirement for most colleges and universities. The ACT and the SAT are the primary college admissions tests used in the United States. Colleges use the scores of these tests to determine a student’s critical thinking skills, analytical reasoning, and knowledge of particular subjects – all which may indicate whether the student is likely to be successful in the academic environment of that particular college.

Most colleges will accept scores from either the ACT or the SAT. Some colleges require writing scores and/or SAT Subject Test scores, so it’s important to verify the admissions test requirements for each school that you are interested in.


The ACT, formerly called the American College Testing program, is a curriculum-based test which includes 4 skill sections: Math, English, Science, and Reading. The ACT was designed to measure what a student knows about the 4 basic subjects and to determine a student’s capability to do college-level work. Each of the four main sections of the test is scored individually on a scale from 1 to 36. A Composite score is calculated based on the average of these four scores.

In 2005, an optional Writing section was added to the ACT. The writing test measures skill and ability in planning and writing a short essay. The writing section is scored separately on a scale from 2 to 12 – the writing score is not included in the Composite score.

The ACT is offered up to 6 times per year, depending on which state you live in. Each section of the ACT takes between 35 and 60 minutes to complete – this means that the whole test usually takes over 4 hours to complete. The cost to take the ACT is approximately $40 – an additional fee is required for the writing test. For more information go to www.ACT.org.


The SAT, formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, includes math, critical reading, and writing sections. The test was developed to measure critical thinking and reasoning skills needed for success at the college level.

Before March of 2016, each section received a score on a scale from 200 to 800 for a maximum score of 2400 across the three sections. Each question was weighted equally, but students were penalized ¼ of a point for each wrong answer.
The new SAT (beginning in March 2016) scores between 200 and 800 points for a Reading/Writing section and a Math section - for a maximum score of 1600 points.  Students will NOT be penalized for wrong answers on the new SAT.  A separate essay test is rated with scores between 2 and 8.

SAT Subject Tests are also available. Some colleges recommend or require that students take the subject tests for placement purposes and to give the admissions office a better idea of the student’s strengths in the subject areas. Students may take up to 3 subject tests on the same day.

The SAT is offered 7 times per year and the basic Reasoning test takes 3 hours to complete (an additional 50 minutes for the essay test). The cost for the SAT without the essay is $43.00 (with the essay it's $54.50). Each SAT Subject test is an additional fee. For more information, go to www.collegeboard.org.





Did You Know?
College Q&A

Has the SAT been redesigned?

Yes. If you have heard that the SAT exam has changed, that's correct!  Beginning in the spring of 2016, the "redesigned" SAT replaced the "old" test.

The new SAT is designed to "reflect the best of classwork" - this means that the material on the test will be linked to the type of work found in classrooms today.  In order to prepare for the new SAT, make sure to take the most rigorous classes that your school offers.    

In addition to the changes related to the question content, the scoring method  will also be changed so that students are not penalized for wrong answers. 

Visit www.collegeboard.org to find out more about the details and specific changes in the new SAT.

What is the IB Program?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or IB Program, is an academically challenging education program designed to prepare students between the ages of 16 and 19 for the university environment and a global society.

The core of the IB Program is the Extended Essay, the Theory of Knowledge, and CAS (Creativity, Action, Service).  The curriculum is very specific and focuses on languages, social sciences, experimental sciences, and mathematics. Students take final written assessments at the end of the program to determine successful completion.

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