Before you begin the process of identifying colleges that you would like to attend, you should try to get a realistic idea of who you are. Listed below are some questions that any help you better understand yourself.
- What are my grades in school like?
- Have I worked hard or do I do the work that enables me to just get by?
- What are my test scores like? Can they be improved? Is there time?
- What kind of special talents do I have?
- What kind of things do I enjoy doing most?
- What are my interests?
- What kind of thought have I given to life after college?
- What are my ambitions, hopes, and dreams?
- What are my values?
- What kind of personality do I have?
- What do I know about college?
- Why do I want to go?
College Planning Checklist
□ Register for SATs by February 12th on www.collegeboard.org
□ Take SATs
□ Attend a Virtual College Fair
□ Junior Conference with School Counselor
□ Request two letters of recommendation from teachers/coaches who know you best Letter of Recommendation worksheet
□ Request a letter of recommendation from school counselor if necessary using the Letter of Recommendation Google Form
□ Create a list of colleges that you are interested in on CollegeBoard's BigFuture at www.collegeboard.org.
□ Register for SATs and ACTS online- School Code: 392075
□ Take AP Exams.
Summer Break 2021
□ Visit colleges, take tours, and interview with admissions department, if necessary
□ Write the first draft of your college admissions essay
□ Create a common application account after August 1
□ Check admissions websites to find out if you need to take SAT subject tests and register if necessary on www.collegeboard.org
□ Finish your college admissions essay
□ Finalize a list of colleges that you will apply to
□ Make sure you know the deadlines for each college.
□ Decide if you are going to take the SATs or ACTs again and register
□ Create a resume
□ Start applying! Pay attention to all deadlines!
□ File FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – www.fafsa.ed.gov
□ After you submit an application, ask your school counselor to send your transcript to the admissions department
□ Attend Financial Aid Information Night at the high school with a parent
□ If you are applying to a school that uses the College Scholarship Service (CSS), fill out your CSS profile.
□ Complete the student activity worksheet in the guidance office.
□ Apply for local scholarships in the guidance office.
SAT vs. ACT: Differences at a Glance
2 hrs 55 mins without Writing
3 hrs 35 mins with Writing
3 hrs without Essay
3 hrs 50 mins with Essay
Order of Sections
5. Writing (optional)
2. Writing and Language
3. Math No Calculator
4. Math Calculator
5. Essay (optional)
Time Per Section
English: 45 mins
Math: 60 mins
Reading: 35 mins
Science: 35 mins
Writing (optional): 40 mins
Reading: 65 mins
Writing and Language: 35 mins
Math No Calculator: 25 mins
Math Calculator: 55 mins
Essay (optional): 50 mins
Number of Questions
English: 75 questions
Math: 60 questions
Reading: 40 questions
Science: 40 questions
Writing (optional): 1 essay
Reading: 52 questions
Writing and Language: 44 questions
Math No Calculator: 20 questions
Math Calculator: 38 questions
Essay (optional): 1 essay
Total score range: 1-36
Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score is the average of your four section scores.
The optional Writing section uses a scale of 2-12 and does not count toward your final score.
Total score range: 400-1600
The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score.
The optional Essay uses three separate scales of 1-8 and does not count toward your final score.
Type of Assessment
Achievement Test: curriculum-based tests that measure achievement in core content areas. Aptitude Test: reflects content used in all strong college preparatory courses.
Who Accepts Scores?
Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US
Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US
Is there a penalty for wrong answers?
No- Points are not deducted for incorrect or omitted answers.
Yes- 1/4 is subtracted point for incorrect multiplie-choice answers. No points are subtracted for incorrect student-produced responses (math section or for omitted questions).
What is the test content?
English: Punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, rhetorical skills.
Math: Pre, elementary, and intermediate algebral coordinate and plane geometry; trigonometry
Reading: Determine main ideas, locate and interpret significant details, understand sequences of events, make comparisons, comprehend cause/effect relationships, determmine the meaning of context-dependent words, draw generalizations, analyse the author's voice
Science: Data representation, research summaries, conmflicting viewpoints
Writing: Essay that measures the writing skills
Critical Reading (CR): Sentence completion, passage-based reading, identifying main and supporting ideas, determining the meaning of words in context, understanding authors' purposes, understanding the structure and function of sentence.
Math (M): Problem-solving using numbers and operations; Algebra and functions; Geometry and measurement; and Data analysis, statistics, and probability.Students are advised to bring a calculator.
Writing (W): Recognize sentence errors, choose the best version or a piece of writing, improve paragraphs, grammar, usage, word choice and an essay.
Q: How do I know which test I should take?
A: There's no hard and fast way to determine which test to take. Often, if time and preparation allow, we recommend that you sit for one SAT and one ACT and then see which exam yields better results. You can then focus attention on that exam for future tests. Some review companies offer an "SAT/ACT Diagnostic," which provides a sampling of questions from each test.
Q: Is there a limit on how many times I can take the SAT or ACT?
A: No, the CollegeBoard and ACT will allow you to sit for exams as many times as you want.
Q: How often do students usually take each test?
A: Research has indicated that scores, on the whole, do not show significant improvement after the student takes an given exam three times.
Q: When should I take the SAT or ACT?
A: Typically, students take standardized tests beginning in March of their junior year. This allows enough time for students to take each test up to three times (if they wanted to) before college applications are due.
Q: Do both companies utilize "Score Choice?"
A: Yes, Score Choice is a score-reporting feature that gives students the option to choose the scores they want sent to colleges by test date, in accordance with each institution's individual score-use practice. For the SATs, Score Choice is optional, and if students choose not to use it, all scores will be sent automatially. For ACTs, students must specify which test date(s) to send.
Q: If I did very well on the SAT by only "okay" on the ACT, should they send both scores?
A: It's not usually necessary to send both. Colleges will use the SAT/ACT concordance chart to equat the scores, and then admissions officers will consider whichever is higher. The only exception to this might be if the colleges do not superscore.
Q: When I look up colleges on CollegeBoard's College Search, it often says: SAT required AND ACT required. Does that mean I have to take/send scores for both tests?
A: No, if you see this, it means that the college requires the SAT or ACT (not both).