College Entrance Exams
ACT vs. SAT
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States. Approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT each Octover. The exam 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?
The PSAT/NMSQT assesses reading, math, and writing skills; provides excellent practice for the SAT; and connects students to scholarships and personalized online tools.
Students in 11th grade may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program and other programs that use PSAT/NMSQT scores.
The PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT have the same format and evaluate the same skills. PSAT/NMSQT students also get a custom SAT study plan based on their results.
After the test, students receive feedback on how ready they are for college and access to tools that help them improve.
PSAT/NMSQT scores tell students and educators how likely students are to succeed in AP courses and on AP Exams.
Students get free access to My College QuickStartTM. Features include an interactive score report, a personality test, major and career suggestions, and a starter list of colleges.
Students who opt in on test day receive free information about admission and financial aid from colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that are interested in them.
Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 10th grade or lower benefit from early feedback on their skills. Students can look at their percentiles to see how well their scores compare to the scores of 10th grade test-takers. Schools that test students at an earlier age have more time to act on PSAT/NMSQT data.
Taking the PSAT/NMSQT again, in 11th grade, gives students a fresh skills assessment and a measure of their progress, as well as the chance to compete for scholarships. And research shows that students in U.S. schools who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 10th and 11th grades score, on average, 189 points higher on the SAT than students who do not.
Sign up for the ACT at www.actstudent.org.
All juniors will automatically be singed up for the ACT during the school day. For seniors or juniors who would like to take the ACT again, you will need to register on your own.
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 Writing section is optional, but students are highly encourage to complete that section. 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 GMHS 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.