Why do I need to take an SAT or ACT?
Most - but not all - colleges require either an SAT or ACT score as part of their admissions process.
How important is standardized testing to the admissions process?
Very important, but it's almost never the deciding factor in admissions. College admissions staff take into account a number of factors: GPA and class rank, the difficulty of classes a student takes in high school, extracurricular activities, the level of thought and work put into an application, and a host of other factors. Standardized tests are just one component of this package. As a general rule, though, the more selective the school, the more standardized tests weigh in with the other factors.
How much does it cost?
The SAT costs $45.00, or $57.00 with the Optional Essay. The ACT is $42.50, or $58.50 for the ACT with the Optional Writing Test (Essay). We strongly recommend students register for the Writing Test on the ACT, as it is required by most colleges. Fee waivers are available for both tests.
How do I register?
Which test should I take?
Nearly all colleges accept both the SAT and the ACT, and they have no preference on which test you take. Students should focus on the test that they personally feel most comfortable with/score the best on. Still not sure? Check out one of our free practice tests if you'd like to see how you'd do on an actual SAT or ACT.
What's the difference between the tests?
The tests are more similar than different. Each test covers math, reading, writing, and grammar. In general, the ACT covers more content from your high school classes, but gives students less time per problem. The SAT covers less material and has more time per question, but these questions are often tricky or difficult to solve.
How will your class help?
Students who prepare for the SAT with More Than A Teacher are guaranteed to increase their score 100 points and often see much higher increases. Students who prepare for the ACT are guaranteed a 2 point increase. We prepare students for test day by focusing on simple, easy to apply techniques, test familiarity, and time management skills. Learn more about how our program is different than other test prep.
When are the tests offered?
The SAT is offered seven times a year. The months the test is given are:
The ACT is offered seven times a year as well. ACT testing months are:
Which test date should I sign up for?
More Than A Teacher recommends that students sign up for two tests during the spring of their junior year. Seniors looking to take the tests should sign up for the September/October tests in order to meet early admission deadlines.
How are the tests scored?
There are four main sections on the SAT: Reading, Writing, and two Math sections (one on which a calculator is not allowed). When scoring the test, the Reading and Writing sections are combined, and a score is assigned on a 200-800 point scale. The same process occurs with the two Math sections. The lowest possible composite score on the SAT is a 400, and the highest is a 1600. The SAT has an optional essay portion, which is scored on a 2 to 8 scale.
The ACT has four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section is scored from 1-36, and then the four scores are averaged to come up with a final composite score. The ACT also has an optional Writing Test, which is scored on a 2 to 12 scale.
What's a good score? What scores are schools looking for?
It depends on your school. A good resource is the Collegeboard College Search or a particular school's web site.
What is the PSAT?
The PSAT is a practice SAT, administered to most juniors through their high school in October. Many schools also offer the option for students to take the test their sophomore year. While just practice, this test also determines National Merit Scholarship qualification. Because National Merit recognition can lead to academic scholarships, this test can be very important. More Than A Teacher offers PSAT classes for rising juniors who can later prepare for the SAT for free.
What are SAT Subject Tests (or SAT IIs)?
The SAT is a general aptitude test, required by many colleges as part of their application process. In addition, a declining number of schools require SAT Subject Tests, which cover a specific topic such as Math, Physics, or Spanish. These Subject Tests are typically used for placement purposes, and may also be required as part of a student's application. Contact your university for details on what SAT Subject Tests, if any, you need to take.
What is the ACT Aspire?
The ACT Aspire test is a standardized test designed to measure a student's progress throughout school. The test is administered by computer at a student's school, and is scored on the ACT's 1-36 point scale. The Aspire is designed to provide a benchmark to track a student's progress in the Common Core State Standards and the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. While the Aspire is not used directly for college admissions, it does replace the EXPLORE and PLAN tests that were previously administered.
Are there any accommodations for students with learning disabilities?
Yes. Students can apply for extended time and other accommodations. The process of obtaining this status is fairly time consuming, so you will need to start preparing the required documentation well before your test. Contact your high school counselor for more information.