All CCA students take the PSAT/NMSQT in the beginning of their sophomore year. PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It’s a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. Students who choose to take it again in their junior year are given the opportunity to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical thinking ability, math problem-solving skills and writing skills.
The SAT is the nation’s most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students’ knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800. The test is offered at local schools several times throughout the school year. CCA offers the SAT twice during the school year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Go to www.collegeboard.com for more information including test dates, registration deadlines, test locations and test preparation.
SAT Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge. Subject Tests give you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content in specific subjects, such as English, History, Mathematics, Science, and various foreign languages. This test is not required by most schools for admissions, but many colleges view the Subject Tests as a bonus when making admission decisions and/or decisions about course placement. If a college does require SAT Subject Tests, they may specify the Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; or they may allow applicants to choose which tests to take. Check with the colleges you are interested in attending to find out more about their specific requirements. You can take a subject test anytime duirng high school, but it is best to take it while the material is fresh in your mind. Go to www.collegeboard.com for a complete list of tests offered, and then compare that with your course schedule to determine the best time to take one.
The ACT consists of four multiple-choice tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The ACT also offers an optional essay section. The ACT is based on the philosophy that “the best way to measure students’ readiness for postsecondary education is to measure as directly as possible the knowledge and skills students will need to perform college-level work.” Subject test scores range from 1 to 36. The English, Mathematics, and Reading tests also have subscores ranging from 1 to 18. The “composite score” is the average of all four tests. In addition, students taking the writing test receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 12, and a “combined English/Writing score” ranging from 1 to 36 (based on the Writing score and English score). The test is offered at local schools several times throughout the school year. Go to www.act.org for more information including test dates, registration deadlines, test locations and test preparation
Which Test to Take?
Almost all competitive schools accept both ACT and SAT scores, but to be safe you should check with the colleges to which you plan to apply. If the college of your choice does not specify which test they prefer, then you can base your decision on which test is better suited to your skills. Use their websites to compare the differences between the ways these tests are formatted, focused and scored. If you take one of these tests and are unhappy with your score, than try taking the other. You may also want to try taking the free practice tests offered on both of their websites.