College Entrance Tests
In order to head directly to a 4 year college after high school, you need to take either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Testing (ACT). In addition to a student's GPA, course selections and involvement in extracurricular activities, 4-year colleges and universities take a solid look at how students do on either the SAT or ACT when making admission decisions.
Which test should I take?
Many students don't know if they should take the SAT or ACT. Here is some information that might help guide your decision:
- Colleges have absolutely no preference between the the ACT or SAT for admission
- Taking both tests can be helpful in determining which test works best for you. They are slightly different in format and one might be a better fit for you.
- You do not need to take SAT Subject Tests unless the college(s) you are interested in require them. Look on the admissions page at colleges you are interested in to find out for sure if they are required.
See our SAT vs. ACT webpage for a more detailed comparison between the two tests.
Is there any way to prepare for the test?
Taking the PSAT will give you a sense of how you might do on the SAT exam. However, since you take the PSAT much earlier than the SAT, most students do better on the SAT because they have had more core academic classes and are more knowledgeable at that point.
Don't forget that you can use your PSAT score on Khan Academy to develop a personalized SAT study guide. However, they can help you prepare for the ACT as well. Visit Khan Academy's Preparing Yourself for Success on the Tests webpage for more information.
What if I am not happy with my scores?
- You can take these tests more than once so if you feel as though you could have done better, feel free to sign up to take the test again.
- When you are registering for the test it will ask you if you want to send your scores to colleges. Colleges will only use this information if you apply there, and they will automatically consider your highest score so don't worry if you took the test more than one time to improve your score!