Test Information

  • Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test  (PSAT)

    The PSAT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT and is also the qualifying exam for high school juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Corporation program.  In addition to giving students the chance to enter NMSC programs, they are also given the opportunity to gain access to college and career planning tools.

    The PSAT measures skills in three main areas:
    • Critical Reading
    • Math problem solving skills
    • Writing skills

    The PSAT is a great way to compare test scores with those of other college bound students from around the country and to help prepare for the actual SAT.  The test is only given once per year, normally in mid October.  Even though students must be juniors to qualify for NMSC programs, there is a national movement to encourage sophomores to take this test.  The cost is minimal—usually about $20.00.  Registration to take the PSAT begins in early September of each school year.  The 2018 test day is Wednesday, October 10th and will take place at Big Sky from 7:50-Noon.

    More information about PSAT/MNSC programs can be found on the College Board website.

    ACT and SAT - College Entrance Exams:

    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 SAT measures the skills students have learned in and out of the classroom and determines how well that knowledge can be applied.  It tests how students think, solve problems and communicate.  The test is composed of three sections:

    • Critical Reading  (sentence completion & passage based reading questions)
    • Mathematics  (based on the math that college bound students usually learned during their first three years of high school
    • Writing  (multiple choice questions & a written essay)

    Total test time, with breaks, is approximately four hours—the current cost for the 2018-19 school year is $47.50-64.50.  Registration is available online at the SAT College Board website.  The closest test centers are The University of Montana and Sentinel High School. 


    SAT and the Kahn Academy have teamed up to offer free SAT prep: Visit the Khan Academy website to learn more..

    18-19 SAT Test Dates:

    • Test Date:  October 6 must register by September 7 - Late Registration Deadline September 26
    • Test Date:  November 3 must register by October 5 - Late Registration Deadline October 24
    • Test Date:  December 1 must register by November 2 - Late Registration Deadline November 20
    • Test Date:  March 9 must register by February 8 - Late Registration Deadline February 27
    • Test Date:  May 4 must register by April 5 - Late Registration Deadline April 24
    • Test Date:  June 1 must register by May 3 - Late Registration Deadline May 22 

    The ACT measures the knowledge, understanding and skills that students have acquired during their cumulative school experience.  This test is composed of five sections:

    • English  (measures the understanding of the conventions of standard written English—   Includes punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, strategy,  organization and style)
    • Mathematics  (assesses math skills students typically acquire in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12.  The test presents multiple choice questions that requires students to use reasoning skills to solve practical problems)
    • Reading  (asks students to use referring and reasoning skills to determine main ideas and to locate and interpret significant details, etc.)
    • Science  (measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem solving skills required in the natural sciences)
    • Writing (Optional)    (measures writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entry level college composition courses)

    Total test time (with writing) is approximately four hours—the cost for the 2018-19 school year is $46.00 without the writing test and $62.50 with the writing test.   Registration is available online on the ACT website.  The closest test centers are The University of Montana and Sentinel High School.  The ACT will be given free of charge to all BSHS juniors on April 2, 2019 at BSHS.  Students will receive free ACT Online Prep access in December to prepare for this April test date.

    18-19 ACT Test Dates: 

    • Test Date:  September 8 must register by August 10 - Late registration fee required (+20) August 11-26
    • Test Date:  October 27 must register by September 28 - Late registration fee required (+20) Sept 29-Oct 14
    • Test Date:  December 8 must register by November 2 - Late registration fee required (+20) November 3-19.   Last test date for scores to be used for the Montana University System Honors Scholarship (tuition waiver for 4 years to a Montana University System school).
    • Test Date:  February 9 must register by January 11 - Late registration fee required (+20) January 12-18
    • April 2-FREE ACT w/writing for all BSHS Juniors given at BSHS-no registration needed
    • Test Date:  April 13 must register by March 8 - Late registration fee required (+20) March 9-25
    • Test Date:  June 8 must register by May 3 - Late registration fee required (+20) May 4-20
    • Test Date: July 13 must register by June 14- Late registration fee required (+20) June 15-24