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Tests: PSAT,SAT, ACT & Subject

College Board Tests

The College Board is the company that offers a wide variety of tests. These include the PSAT/NMSQT, the SAT, AP tests and SAT Subject Tests.

  • The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)  is usually offered in October. This is primarily a test for 11th graders to help prepare them for the SAT as well as to potentially qualify for certain scholarships. There is a fee for 11th graders to take the test to cover the cost of the proctors as well as processing the test.
  • The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is designed to assess academic readiness for college. Scores are utilized by colleges in different ways, often as one part of the criteria for acceptance. Students generally take the SAT the first time in 11th grade after studying from the information provided by the PSAT. Most students take the SAT at least twice and often score higher the second time. To register for a test, find practice information or get general questions addressed, access the College Board SAT site at
  • AP tests are given in the Spring. Any student can take an AP test, however generally speaking, students taking the AP course take the tests. Most colleges will accept a score of 4 or 5 and give college level credit for that subject.
  • SAT Subject Tests are offered in a variety of subjects. They are hour-long, content-based tests that allow students to showcase achievement in specific subject areas. California State Universities do not accept Subject tests. The University of California does not require subject tests. For the 2019-2020 application year, the University of California website states, “While SAT Subject Tests are not required, some campuses recommend that freshman applicants interested in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency.” A list of the impacted majors that recommend SAT Subject tests and in what areas can be found at this websiteUC suggested subject tests Private universities may recommend or require SAT subject tests. This should be investigated by the student prior to applying.



SAT and ACT Registration and Test Dates

MCHS does not provide either the SAT or the ACT tests. Dates and locations should be double checked at the appropriate websites. For the SAT, SAT: and for the ACT:




The ACT test is also accepted by colleges as a reflection of a student's readiness for college. It can be taken multiple times as well. There is an option to take a written component of the ACT which is required by the UC's. Students can get more information at


SAT or ACT or both?

Most colleges will accept either ACT or the SAT tests results. In general, it can be helpful for students to take both tests to see which one they can do better on. The tests are different and some find they do better on one than the other. In general, the SAT is a test of the student's problem solving while the ACT measures achievement. It also includes a Science component, which can work to a student's advantage whose emphasis is in that field. Neither test is viewed by colleges as being stronger or a better indicator of college success. For that reason, it can be advantageous for a student to take both to see which one works better.

Test taking Help

  1. The College Board  has paired with KHAN academy to offer practice tests and advice to build a personalized practice program at . The college board provides college planning at
  2. ACT also offers free practice tests and help to prepare for the ACT test at It also has an excellent resource for college planning
  3. Our College and Career Counselor, Ms. Moreno  (  can help students with college planning and career interest assessments.
  4. There are several private companies where you can purchase test preparation help. Here are a few we are aware of. We are providing this information as a courtesy, however we are not endorsing any of these companies.