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Purpose of assessment: “Many colleges base admissions decisions in part on the results of standardized tests called the ACT and the SAT tests. Juniors and seniors in high school usually take these tests to demonstrate their readiness for college level work. What Do the ACT and the SAT Tests Measure? In general, the ACT and the SAT tests attempt to measure college readiness and predict future academic success. But they do so in very different ways:

  • The ACT test measures what a student already knows. It covers material that the student should have learned during high school.
  • The SAT test is used more as a predictor of what a student is capable of learning. It deals with material that the student may NOT have learned in high school.

For this reason, some students do better on the ACT test—especially if they tend to struggle with standardized tests—and other students do better on the SAT test. Most colleges accept either test score, so many students take both exams to improve their chances of being admitted.The bottom line: Your child should talk to a school counselor for guidance on which test may be best for his or her disposition”

Grades Taking the assessment: 11-12 grade

Dates: Please see the SAT and ACT websites for specific dates.

What to expect during the assessment: These are long assessments that typically take at least a half a day including short breaks. Some students will test over multiple days based on accommodations. 

Practice links: SAT practice itemsACT practice items

What Does the Scores Mean:

“Before you begin interpreting SAT scores and ACT scores, understand that the scoring systems are quite different. The SAT has two sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math), each of which are worth up to 800 points, so a perfect score is 1600.The ACT has four sections (English, math, reading comprehension and science, with an optional essay section). The scores are averaged after they’re tabulated, so a perfect ACT score is 36 (” APS does not have access to your scores so you will need to go to the results page on the ACT and SAT websites to obtain your scores.

Resources based on the results: Check in with your adviser and on the websites of the colleges you are interest in applying to to determine how the your scores, it they are needed at all, will impact your application. You can also call the admission’s department of the Colleges or Universities you are interested in to learn how scores are used in the admissions process at each school.