The ACT and SAT are the two admission tests used by most colleges and universities in the United States. Most post secondary institutions require prospective students to take one of these exams. The majority of colleges will accept the results from either of these tests, but it is always a good idea to check with specific colleges or universities about test preferences or requirements.
The PSAT is traditionally taken by Sophomores and Juniors in the month of October. Students who are college bound and would like to take the PSAT can take it as freshmen.
The ACT and SAT are traditionally taken by Juniors. Big Sky High School administers the ACT for free to all Juniors in the month of April. However, both the SAT and ACT are offered year round outside of the school. Some students may retake the test a number of times if unhappy with their scores. Most Colleges require SAT or ACT scores when you apply during Senior Year of high school.
Ambitious students may choose to take the ACT and SAT prior to Junior year in order to practice.
PSAT and SAT
What is the PSAT test?
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
Inside the Test
The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 are highly relevant to your future success because they focus on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education. They’ll measure:
- What you learn in high school
- What you need to succeed in college
If you think the key to a high score is memorizing words and facts you’ll never use in the real world, think again. You don’t have to discover secret tricks or cram the night before.
- The best way to prepare for the test is to:
- Take challenging courses
- Do your homework
- Prepare for tests and quizzes
- Ask and answer lots of questions
In short, take charge of your education and learn as much as you can.
Find out what kinds of questions you’ll see on the PSAT/NMSQT*. Where do you want to start?
*Information about the PSAT/NMSQT was taken from the College Board PSAT/NMSQT Website.
Getting your scores
Students will be able to access their scores and AP Potential information at studentscores.collegeboard.org.
Paper copies of student scores have been returned to students during February and March. Students can use the Access Code provided on the front cover of the Score Sheet to link PSAT scores to a College Board account. Students can then access numerous resources through the College Board website.
Parents, read this PSAT Tutorial to find out more about reading PSAT Scores.
Sending ACT Scores to CollegesDuring the month of February or March, students will complete the information section of the answer sheet in their English classes. Students may choose up to 4 Colleges and Scholarship agencies in include on their answer sheets. ACT will send your scores to these agencies at no cost. If you do not send your scores initially and choose to do so at a later date, ACT will charge a fee to send your score. You can view your choices at: http://www.actstudent.org/scores/scodes/Creating an ACT AccountAfter the March Exam, students will receive a score report. At this point, students are able to log on to ACT.org and create a profile. They can review their results, access resources and prepare for future ACT Exams. If students plan to take additional ACT exams, and would like to access all of their information in one account, it is critical that they create an account on ACT.org with the information provided from their first set of scores. To sign up for additional exams, students then just need to log into their account and sign up to take the exam again.
ResourcesVisit the ACT website for the Preparing for the ACT: http://media.act.org/documents/preparing.pdfAdditional Free ACT practice tests can be found at: http://smartaboutcollege.org/high-school/college-planning/junior.jsp