9 SAT/ACT Test 
          Preparation

The SAT I: Reasoning Test
Most colleges and universities require applicants to take the SAT I reasoning test, (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test). The SAT I is intended to measure a student's aptitude for learning - not intelligence. Colleges use the results of the SAT I to help predict how well prospective students will do academically in college. In addition, the SAT I gives colleges a chance to compare students who did not attend the same high school, who had different teachers, different friends, and different circumstances surrounding their education.

The SAT I consists of two main parts - a verbal section and a mathematics section. It is similar to the PSAT/NMSQT, except that the SAT I has more questions. Sometimes SAT I scores are stated separately (a score of 580 on the verbal section and a 620 on the mathematics section). Sometimes the test results are referred to as a single combined score (the previous example of 580 verbal and 620 mathematics would result in a combined score of 1200).

The SAT I recently went through a recentering process which means that SAT scores, on average, increased. The College Board recentered the scores to reestablish the midpoint on the 200-800 scale in an effort to make scores easier to understand.

The SAT I is offered a number of times throughout the year. Most students take this test in the spring of their junior year and many repeat the process during the fall of their senior year. There is no limit to how often the test can be taken, although most high school counselors feel that twice is usually enough.

Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure that you contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to have your scores forwarded to the colleges of your choice. This can be done when you take the test (by indicating which schools you wish to receive your scores) or after you receive your results.

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The SAT II: Subject Tests
The SAT II: Subject tests, unlike the SAT I tests, are given to find out how much students know about a particular subject area. Some colleges require that SAT II subject tests be taken for placing students properly in classes, others use the test scores as part of the admissions criteria, and some schools do not require students to take SAT II subject tests at all.  Check with the admissions office at your favorite colleges to find out their requirements.

The ACT
The ACT (American College Test) is used by schools throughout the country in addition to, or instead of, the SAT tests. The ACT examines students' abilities in English, mathematics, natural sciences, and social studies. Like the SAT, the ACT is used to help colleges sift through the thousands of applications they receive and to determine which students are most likely to succeed.

The ACT is administered at different times throughout the year. Like the SAT, it is typically taken in the spring of the junior year and then again, in some cases, during the fall of the senior year. If a school you are interested in will accept either SAT or ACT scores, you may want to consider taking a practice test in each one, and then take the one that you feel is best suited to your strengths.

SAT/ACT Links:

ACT
The home page for the American College Test (ACT) examinations and other testing packages, has information on the tests and on-line registration, and the college application process.  For parents, there are sections on career options, resources, and college planning. The college planning section has a planning checklist and a glossary of higher education terms.  If visiting this site, check out C3 which has information for parents, students, and guidance counselors including a useful financial aid estimator, links to virtual tours, and a college search engine.

College Board
This site has information on PSAT SAT, and AP examinations.  Students can register for SATs on-line. Links are also provided to CollegeSearch (a college choice search engine) and Going Right On, a planning site for pre-high school students.


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Rhode Island Office of Higher Education
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Website Developed in December 1998 by Timothy S. Chace and Phyllis Harnick
Site last updated December 2000