Testing FAQ


Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (P.S.A.T.)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Tests (N.M.S.Q.T.)

The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (P.S.A.T.) of the Educational Testing Service of the College Board in Princeton, New Jersey, is a multiple-choice examination which measures verbal and mathematical abilities important for academic performance in college. The questions test ability to reason with facts and concepts rather than to recall or recite them. The test may be useful as a practice for the S.A.T. I and the test serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test for juniors in the nationwide competition for recognition, awards, and scholarships.

Scholastic Aptitude Test I: Reasoning Test (S.A.T.I)

The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills needed for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well a student analyzes and solves problems—skills learned in school that will be needed in college. The SAT I contains the following three sections: writing; critical reading; and mathematics and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors.

S.A.T. Subject Test

Subject Tests (formerly SAT II: Subject Tests) are designed to measure knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, as well as the ability to apply that knowledge. Many colleges do not require SAT II’s for admission. Some colleges that do require this test will specify the Subject Tests needed for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.


The ACT assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

Testing FAQ's

Source: www.collegeboard.com & www.actstudent.org


1.  PSAT as a junior – this is a must. PSAT is offered once a year in mid-Oct. The Preliminary SAT®/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a co-sponsored program by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

SAT or ACT: Most colleges will accept either SAT or ACT scores for admission. Check to see if the school you are interested in requires or recommends the writing part. If they do, then you must register for ACT Plus Writing. The new SAT includes writing. Students should take the SAT or ACT in the spring of the junior year.

SAT Subject Tests:Only when a college you are applying to requires them.

2.  The SAT is used for college admission, but PSAT/NMSQT scores are not sent to colleges. The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report gives you personalized feedback on areas in which you could improve, along with specific advice on how to improve. The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report also gives students the correct answers to items missed. Students are given back their test booklet so they can use the score report and test booklet to see which items they missed and why.

Taking the PSAT/NMSQT is the best practice for the SAT.

Taking the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior gives you a chance to qualify for scholarship and recognition programs.

3.  The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills needed for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well you analyze and solve problems. The test is designed to allow you to demonstrate your abilities in these areas regardless of the particular type of instruction you've received or textbooks you've used.

The ACT is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to what students have learned in their high school courses in English, mathematics, and science. The ACT also provides test takers with an interest inventory.
The SAT has 3 components: Verbal, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.
The ACT has 4-5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you're applying to.
The SAT deducts -¼ point for each incorrect multiple choice answer.
The ACT is scored based on the number correct with no correction for guessing.
ACT sends the set of scores student wants sent.
The College Board (SAT) sends all scores.

4.  SAT Reasoning Test - $41.50.

ACT Plus Writing - $41

ACT (without writing test) $29

NOTE: SAT & ACT have additional fees for late registration, walk-on testing, sending scores to colleges, changing testing date, changing testing center, etc.

PSAT – Administered by your high school at cost, typically $15-25

5.  SAT - Actual testing time is 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Two 25-min. sections and one 20-min. critical reading sections

One 35 minute writing section (multiple choice questions)

One 25 minute writing section for student-written essay

Two 25-min. and one 20-min. math sections

The 25-minute essay will always be the first section of the SAT, and the 35-minute multiple-choice writing section will always be the final section. The remaining four 25-minute sections can appear in any order, as can the two 20-minute sections. Test takers sitting next to each other in the same testing session may have test books with entirely different sections.

ACT – actual testing time is 2 hours 55 minutes

English – 75 questions – 45 minutes

Math – 60 questions – 60 minutes

Reading – 40 questions – 35 minutes

Science – 40 questions – 35 minutes

ACT Plus Writing – adds 30 min written essay (1 prompt) to ACT testing time

PSAT actual testing time is 2 hours 10 minutes

Two 25-minute critical reading sections - 48 questions

Two 25-minute math sections - 38 questions

One 30-minute writing section - 39 questions

No written essay

6.  SAT: The SAT has three scores, each on the scale of 200 to 800. Your score will include writing (W 200-800), mathematics (M 200-800), and critical reading (CR 200-800). Add the three scores together for the combined score.

The average score on the SAT is about 500 on the critical reading portion, 500 on the math portion, and 500 on the writing portion (1500 combined). A perfect combined score is 2400. Some of the questions are easy, and some are hard, but the majority are of medium difficulty. Medium-difficulty questions are answered correctly by about one-third to two-thirds of students.

The SAT is designed so that a student who answers about half the questions correctly will receive an average score.

NOTE:  students lose ¼ point for each multiple choice question answered incorrectly. Do not guess blindly.

ACT: Your Composite Score and each Test Score (English, Math, Reading, Science) range from 1 (low) to 36 (high). The Composite Score is the average of your four Test Scores, rounded to the nearest whole number.

PSAT: The PSAT/NMSQT score reports provide three different scores on the 20-to-80 scale. One each for critical reading skills, math skills, and writing skills. The average critical reading, math, and writing skills score for juniors is about 49. Also on your score report is the Selection Index, which is the sum of the three scores (CR + M + W). The Selection Index ranges from 60 to 240. The average Selection Index of juniors is about 147.

Score reports include percentiles, which allow you to compare your scores with other students in your grade level who have taken the PSAT/NMSQT. For example, a junior student with a percentile of 53 has earned a score better than 53 out of every 100 college-bound juniors who took the test.

NOTE:  students lose ¼ point for each multiple choice question answered incorrectly. Do not guess blindly.

If you take the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior and qualify to be designated a Commended Student or Semifinalist in NMSC’s (National Merit) scholarship programs, you will be notified by your school in September of your senior year.

7.  SAT: The essay question will ask you to develop a point of view on an issue and support it with examples from your studies and experience. You can answer the question successfully in many different ways. You won't have to have any prior knowledge about the topic to write an effective essay. However, you will have to answer the essay assignment directly.

ACT Plus Writing: The test consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue. You are asked to respond to a question about your position on the issue described in the writing prompt. In doing so, you may adopt one or the other of the perspectives described in the prompt, or you may present a different point of view on the issue. Your essay score will not be affected by the point of view you take on the issue.

PSAT: There is no written essay in this test.

8.  Different colleges will use your writing score in different ways. Writing scores may be used for admissions decisions and possibly for placement in English Composition or related courses. However, for the first few years, some schools may choose to use writing scores for research purposes only, and not for decisions about admissions or placement.

SAT: A college will be able to view and print a copy of your essay only if you sent an official score report to that college.

ACT: If you took the ACT Plus Writing, the colleges and high school to which you have ACT report your scores will receive your Writing scores and comments along with your subject area scores and Composite. These colleges and your high school will also have the option to access an image of your actual essay online.

9.  SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP: The College Board is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations on its tests. These tests are: SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests, Advanced Placement Tests (AP), and PSAT/NMSQT.

If you have a documented disability you may be eligible for accommodations on College Board tests (i.e., SAT, SAT Subject Tests, AP, PSAT). If you are seeking accommodations on a College Board test, you must complete a Student Eligibility Form. Please see your counselor for this form and additional information. The College Board's procedures for determining appropriate accommodations on its tests provide for considerable flexibility or customization to accommodate your special needs There are four major categories for testing accommodations:

Presentation (e.g., large print; reader; Braille; Braille device for written responses; visual magnification; audio amplification; audiocassette; sign/oral presentations),

Responding (e.g., verbal/dictated to scribe; tape recorder; computer without grammar/cut & paste features; large block answer sheet),

Timing/scheduling (e.g., frequent breaks; extended time; multiple day; specified time of day), and

Setting (e.g., small group setting; private room; special lighting/acoustics; adaptive/special furniture/tools; alternative test site [with proctor present]; preferential seating).

Learn more about testing for students with disabilities at www.collegeboard.com

ACT: ACT is committed to serving students with disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations appropriate to the student's disability. ACT has established policies regarding documentation of an applicant's disability and the process for requesting accommodations. For details, see ACT Policy for Documentation. If you currently receive accommodations in school due to a professionally diagnosed and documented disability, you may provide documentation to support a request for one of the following:

Center Testing #1: Standard Time National Testing with Accommodations
Center Testing #2: Extended Time National Testing (50% more time). If approved, you will be allowed up to 5 hours total to work on the multiple-choice tests at your own pace, including breaks between the tests. If you are taking the Writing Test, you will be allowed up to 5 hours and 45 minutes total; however, you must complete the multiple-choice tests within 5 hours.
Special Testing: At specially arranged times with extended time and alternate formats available—not as part of national testing

The information you provide to ACT about your disability will be treated as confidential and will be used solely to determine your eligibility for accommodations. Details about your testing accommodations will be shared only with the testing staff and will not be released to anyone else. For more information about services for students with disabilities visit the ACT website at www.actstudent.org.

10.  PSAT – The PSAT is available once per year in mid-October.

SAT - You can take the SAT as many times as you want. Your score report shows your current test score, in addition to scores for up to six SAT and six Subject Test administrations.

ACT – You can take the ACT as many times as you want. ACT research shows that of the students who took the ACT more than once: 55% increased their Composite score; 22% had no change in their Composite score; 23% decreased their Composite score. ACT allows you to choose the scores you want sent to colleges.

11.  The SAT measures the critical thinking skills you'll need for academic success in college. It assesses how well you analyze and solve problems. SAT scores are used for college admission purposes because the test predicts college success. The Subject Tests are one-hour, primarily multiple-choice tests in specific subjects. Subject Tests measure knowledge or skills in a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge.

12.  To find out which test(s) you should take, contact the colleges you are interested in attending. Most colleges require the SAT for admission and many other schools require both the SAT and Subject Tests for admission purposes or placement. Additionally, some colleges require specific Subject Tests while others allow you to choose which tests you take. It's best to check directly with the college admissions offices.

13.  SAT: Your test scores can tell admission staff how you compare with other students who took the test. That's because all scores are reported on the 200-to-800 scale. For example, if your scores are about 500 on each section, which is the mean (average) score, college admission staff would know you scored about as well as half of the students who took the test. High school grades are a very useful indicator of how students perform in college, yet there is great variation in grading standards and course rigor within and across high schools. Remember, too, that the SAT is only one of a number of factors that colleges consider when making admission decisions.

ACT: Your national rank tells college admission staff how your scores compare to scores earned by recent high school graduates who also took the ACT. Colleges use ACT results in a variety of ways:

Admission decisions
ACT test results, high school grades, academic preparation, out-of-class accomplishments, special interests, and future plans—these and other kinds of information help admission officials identify applicants who can benefit most from their programs.

Course placement
Colleges usually try to take into account individual strengths and weaknesses as they place students in freshman-year courses. For example, a college may offer three sections of a subject—developmental, regular, and advanced. A student's ACT results, academic background, and high school grades might be used to determine which section would be most appropriate.

FOR MORE INFO ON SAT/PSAT/NMSQT/ACT VISIT THESE WEBSITES: www.collegeboard.com and www.actstudent.org


2007-2008 SAT Test Dates & Registration Deadlines

Test Dates
Test Registration Deadlines
(International only)
Regular Late
(a fee applies)
October 6, 2007 SAT & Subject Tests N/A September 10, 2007 September 14, 2007
November 3, 2007 SAT & Subject Tests September 12, 2007 October 2, 2007 October 11, 2007
December 1, 2007 SAT & Subject Tests October 10, 2007 October 30, 2007 November 8, 2007
January 26, 2008 SAT & Subject Tests December 5, 2007 December 26, 2007 January 4, 2008
March 1, 2008 SAT only N/A January 29, 2008 February 7, 2008
May 3, 2008 SAT & Subject Tests March 12, 2008 April 1, 2008 April 10, 2008
June 7, 2008 SAT & Subject Tests April 16, 2008 May 6, 2008 May 15, 2008




Register with Mrs. Mollenauer, the Guidance Secretary, by SEPTEMBER 25, 2007. Cost is $23 . We strongly recommend all college-bound juniors and sophomores take the PSAT/NMQT. Any interested sophomore or freshman may also take the PSAT/NMQT for practice; however it is essential to take it again as a junior in order to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.



REGISTER ONLINE: www.actstudent.org


2007–2008 Test Dates

Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
September 15, 2007 August 10, 2007 August 11–24, 2007
October 27, 2007 September 21, 2007 September 22–October 5, 2007
December 8, 2007 November 2, 2007 November 3–15, 2007
February 9, 2008 January 4, 2008 January 5–18, 2008
April 12, 2008 March 7, 2008 March 8–21, 2008
June 14, 2008 May 9, 2008 May 10–23, 2008



U.S. Military Academy (West Point): Director of Admissions, U.S. Military Academy, 600 Thayer Road, West Point, NY 10996-9902, 1-914-938-4041, www.usma.edu

U.S. Naval Academy: U.S.Naval Academy, Candidate Guidance Office, 117 Decatur Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402-5018, 1-410-293-4361, www.usna.edu

U.S. Air Force Academy: Admissions Office, HQ USAFA/RRS, 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 200, USAF Academy, CO 80840-5025, 1-800-443-9266, www.usafa.edu

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy: Admissions Office, U.S. Merchant Marines Academy, Kings Point, NY 11024-9997, 1-800-732-6267, www.usmma.edu

U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Congressional appointment not required): Admissions Office, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT 06320-4195, 1-860-444-8500, www.cga.edu



One of the best sources for college tuition is through military service. There are several options to consider:

PENNSYLVANIA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD, www.1800GOGUARD and PENNSYLVANIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD, www.afres.af.mil. A student can sign-up while still in high school, as long as they are 17 years of age. Some students do basic training between their junior and senior year and go one weekend per month while they’re still in high school. They receive a stipend for service, too! Others join after high school, do basic training, then start college in the fall or spring. If they enroll in any one of the 14 Pennsylvania State Schools, they receive FULL TUITION, or up to $4,000 in any PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) approved college or university. They also receive a monthly stipend for the one weekend a month they have to go to reserves. Every summer they do basic training for two weeks. Students who choose this option have a seven year commitment, but 4 years of that time is while they are in college. PLUS, in certain occupations like government service, firemen, police work, teaching, etc., they get first choice or veterans preference.

ARMY RESERVES. Basic Training, specialists training, one weekend per month, two weeks summer with pay, and federal tuition benefits.

AIR FORCE RESERVES. Same as Army Reserves.

COAST GUARD RESERVES. Same as Army Reserves. www.uscg.mil/reserve.

NAVY RESERVES. Must have served in regular Navy first.

REGULAR ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, AIR FORCE, COAST GUARD. Eleven weeks basic training (CG is eight weeks) (AF is 6.5 weeks), eleven weeks specialist training, full tuition benefits while in the regular service, on-the-job education and training, often leading to a college degree, federal tuition benefits after leaving a four year commitment. www.goarmy.com, www.navy.com, www.marines.com, www.airforce.com, www.gocoastguard.com.

ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE ROTC (officer corps). Attend the college of your choice full time, basic training (usually between freshman and sophomore year), one weekend per month on campus service with pay, chance for scholarship and full tuition for bright students, commission in service as officer upon graduation. Wonderful opportunity for competitive, bright students who may even have the opportunity to continue graduate school and doctorate work at the expense of the military.

ACADEMY EDUCATION – (U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy). A very competitive, comprehensive education for bright, athletic, committed young men and women. Process for admission begins in the JUNIOR year of high school. The value of an academy education exceeds $200,000, and the government covers the entire cost. There is a commitment of six years to the military as an officer; but many graduates go on to get Masters and Doctorate degrees while still in the military. www.usma.edu, www.nadn.navy.mil, www.academyadmissions.com.

ACADEMY EDUCATION – (Coast Guard Academy). The academy is tuition-free, and there are no congressional appointments. You’ll be evaluated on your academic standing and your personal merit, skills, talent, and achievements. All of your accomplishments count. www.cga.edu.

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