College Testing


The ACT Assessment is designed to measure high school students’ college readiness and is made up of multiple-choice tests that cover four skill areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Science.

The writing test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. Virtually all four-year colleges and universities in the United States require the ACT or SAT for admissions purposes.


The SAT, is a college admissions exam that measures college success skills – the critical thinking and reasoning skills in reading, math and writing – that are necessary for academic success in college. Virtually all four year colleges in the United States require the SAT or ACT for admissions purposes.

The test will cover three areas: Critical Reading (formerly called “Verbal”), Mathematics, and Writing. The SAT corresponds closely to current curriculum and institutional practices in secondary schools and in colleges. By including a third area of skills – writing – the test will reinforce the importance of writing at every stage of a student’s education, and will help colleges make better admissions and placement decisions.

Relevant Documents (PDFs):


The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test has several purposes. It provides practice for the SAT; acts as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program competitions and the National
Achievment Scholarship Program for Black students; offers insight, through comprehensive reports, into students’ readiness for college; and helps identify students for Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses. When students take the PSAT/NMSQT they are asked if they would like certain information sent to colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that request it from the College Board. This is the function of the Student Search Service.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • Critical reading, math reasoning, and writing skills.
  • Knowledge and skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses as well as through experiences outside the classroom. Although the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT are not directly related to specific high school curriculum, they are developed to reflect the kinds of academic experiences that teachers consider important.
  • Critical reading and mathematical reasoning abilities, plus writing skills – all important for successful academic performance in college. The test assesses the ability to reason with facts and concepts rather than the ability to recall and recite them. The PSAT/NMSQT focuses on the critical thinking skills that educators emphasize. The PSAT/NMSQT is a school-based test and is given once a year in October. Score reports are sent to the high schools and distributed to students in December.

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