Testing Information

There are a couple of different standardized college admission tests. The word standardized means that the test measures the same thing in the same way for everyone who takes it. The results of these tests help colleges determine how well prepared you are for college-level work.  Ripon High School offers the practice test for the SAT (PSAT) in the fall each year. 

2019-20 ACT/SAT Testing Schedule

The SAT and ACT

Most four-year colleges require that students submit SAT or ACT scores. Here’s how each of these tests is structured:

  • The SAT has three major sections: Math, reading and writing (which includes a written essay).

  • The ACT has four major sections: English, math, reading and science (and an optional essay section).

  • Differences between the ACT and SAT are listed on the ACT/SAT Chart

SAT Subject Tests

Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas. There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, math and science.  Some colleges require or recommend that you take SAT Subject Tests. Even if a college does not recommend Subject Tests, you can use them to enhance your application and demonstrate knowledge you’ve gained outside the classroom.  Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. If you perform well on the tests, you may fulfill basic requirements or get credit for — and possibly place out of — introductory-level courses.

When to take the Exams

These facts may help with your planning:

  • Most students take the SAT or ACT for up to two times during the spring of their Junior year. 

  • Students who choose to take the SAT or ACT a third time typically do so in the Fall of Senior year.

  • SAT Subject Tests are best taken directly following relevant courses, while the material from class is still fresh in your mind. But you can take them at any time during high school.

Keep in mind that while many students take tests more than once, there’s no evidence that taking a test more than twice significantly improves students’ scores. The best thing you can do is take time to prepare and get familiar with the test format before you take the test.

How to Sign up for the Exams

SAT and/or SAT Subject tests:  www.sat.org

PSAT (Practice SAT)

Over three million high school students take the Preliminary SAT, or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT or NMSQT) each year. Like the SAT, the PSAT is designed to measure the ability to understand and process elements of reading, writing, and mathematics. Many students use this exam to get feedback on their strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the SAT. In addition, students may qualify for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship program based on their PSAT scores. You can learn more about the PSAT by clicking https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/taking-the-tests.