The PSAT is a College Board examination administered in October of every school year. It is an officially released version of a previously administered SAT exam. The exam is scored from 20-80 for each of the three parts, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. It is administered to all Wake County sophomores, and to freshmen and juniors who choose to register for the exam. The PSAT itself has NO bearing on college admissions. So, why take it?
A) The PSAT provides you with good information about what you can do to prepare for the SAT examinations you might take later on.
B) The PSAT is used by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to qualify students for various scholarships based on their Junior year PSAT scores.
C) Colleges and universities use the information from the PSAT as a means to begin communicating with students regarding higher education and financial aid opportunities.
Click here to view a video about getting ready for the PSAT (2010)
Click here for a powerpoint about interpreting the PSAT
SAT vs. ACT
The SAT and ACT are two competing examinations for college entrance. The SAT is typically used in the eastern half of the country, and the ACT is typically used in the western half. This is more because of where their headquarters are located than for any other reason. Most schools will accept either an SAT or an ACT score BUT do not take that for granted! Check with the school you are considering to see what they want, either via the school's website, or by calling the school's admissions department.
The SAT is one mechanism used by colleges to determine your readiness for success at their school. This exam has three parts, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing, and each has a minimum score of 200, with a maximum score of 800. Tests are typically administered on a Saturday morning, and are NOT administered at every high school. You can take the exam as many times as you wish, and most schools will accept your highest individual score in each area, even if they are on different test dates. Typically, students do not perform significantly better on the SAT after the third attempt unless they have made some dedicated effort to prepare. If you wish to attend a 4-year college or university that uses the SAT for admission, it is a good idea to take it at least twice, once during your junior year and early in senior year. Community colleges and two year schools do not typically use the SAT for admissions, but will use them for placement if you have taken them. Test scores must be sent directly to the requesting college or university from College Board.
The ACT (originally American College Testing program) is an exam typically used in the western region of the United States, and contains four subtests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The test scores range from 1 to 36, with a final composite score ranging from 1 to 36.
Tests are typically administered on a Saturday morning, and are NOT administered at every high school. You can take the exam as many times as you wish, and most schools will accept your highest individual score in each area, even if they are on different test dates.
Here are the ACT instructions for students who took the ACT junior year at WHS and want those scores sent to colleges:
- Go to www.actstudent.org.
- Click on "Sign up/Log in"
- Click "Create Account"
- Answer the two questions: "Have you registered for the ACT before?" (NO) and "Have you taken the ACT before?"(YES) Click "Continue."
- Complete the brief form including entering the email address you will keep and check. Click "Continue."
- Enter in the student's social security number OR ACT ID number (NO DASHES). This number is on their ACT report from last year. It's at the top of the form, listed under the birthday, and says "ID-XX-XX-XXXX" **This step is how the student accesses last year's scores as opposed to creating a new account w no score report history.**
- From there, the student will create a username and a password will be emailed to him/her. He/She will go to their email, get the password, go back to the website, and create a new password. 8. Then, the student can view last year's ACT, select colleges to send it to, etc. The current cost the score report is $11 per school/report sent.
SAT, ACT, AP, and SAT subject tests prep resources
SAT/ACT/AP/SAT subject test prep resources range from no cost to a fee, from online self-paced to individualized instruction