SAT and ACT
The SAT is offered seven times a year (October–June), and the ACT is offered six times a year (August–June). Geneva students should plan on taking the SAT and/or ACT in the spring of their junior year. This gives them the option of taking one or both of the tests again—perhaps later in the spring and/or early in their senior year. Some students do better on the SAT and some do better on the ACT.
Registering for the SAT and ACT
To avoid paying additional late fees, register early. To register for the SAT, go to www.collegeboard.com and to register for the ACT, go to www.actstudent.org. By registering early, you not only avoid late fees but also have a higher chance of being assigned your first choice of test center.
The College Board provides testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Students with physical or mental disabilities often require accommodations on College Board tests, including
- SAT Subject Tests™
- Advanced Placement Program®
The College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) provides a broad range of accommodations, such as Braille tests, large print, and extended time, to students who provide documentation of a disability. The College Board is committed to ensuring that students with physical or mental disabilities receive appropriate accommodations on its tests. Similar accommodations also exist for students who wish to take the ACT.
Please contact Mr. Thigpen in the College Counseling office to discuss your child’s disability and whether or not he or she might be a candidate for accommodations on College Board tests. Submission of an accommodation request must be made to the College Board at least four weeks prior to the exam.
The College Board offers a fee-waiver service to assist qualified, economically disadvantaged students who plan to take the:
- SAT Subject Tests
- AP Exams
Please contact Mr. Thigpen in the College Counseling office to discuss whether your family may qualify for the fee-waiver service.
Steps to Success in ACT and/or SAT Test-Taking
- Take a practice ACT, SAT or SAT/ACT Combo Test to identify which test could best showcase your strengths during the admissions process.
- Identify which areas you need to improve for your target schools and create a timetable.
- Use the resources available to you to help with test preparation.
- Work on areas that need improvement.
- Take the ACT, SAT, or both based on practice test results and school requirements.
SAT II Subject Tests
- Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas where you excel. These are the only national admission tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your achievements and interests.
- SAT Subject Tests allow you to differentiate yourself in the college admission process or send a strong message regarding your readiness to study specific majors or programs in college. In conjunction with your other admission credentials (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a more complete picture of your academic background and interests.
- Some colleges also use subject tests to place students into the appropriate courses. Based on your performance on the test(s), you could potentially fulfill basic requirements or receive credit for introductory-level courses.
- There are 20 SAT subject tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematics, and science.
- For more information about SAT II subject tests, please refer to the College Board website.
ACT vs. SAT: The Breakdown
To compare the scores of the SAT with the scores of the ACT, see the SAT-ACT concordance tables on the College Board website.
|Length||3 hours, 25 minutes (including the 30-minute optional Writing Test)||3 hours, 45 minutes|
|Sections||4 Test Sections (5 with the optional Essay): English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing (Optional)||10 Sections: 3 critical Reading, 3 Math, 3 Writing, (including the Essay), 1 Experimental (unscored)|
|Reading (ACT) / Critical Reading (SAT)||4 reading comprehension passages, 10 questions per passage||Mix of reading comprehension and sentence completion questions which require vocabulary expertise|
|Science||Science reasoning (analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and problem solving)||Science not included|
|Math||Math accounts for 1/4 of overall score: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, triganometry (4 questions).||Math accounts for 1/3 of overall score: arithmetic, algebra, geometry and algebra II.|
|Essay||Last thing you do (optional); 30 minutes. Not included in composite score.||First thing you do; 25 minutes. Factored into overall score.|
|Scoring||Total composite score of 1–36 (based on average of 4 tests: 4 scores of 1–36 for each test. Score of 2–12 for the optional Essay.||Total score out of 2400: 3 scores of 200–800 for each section. 2 sub-scores: 20–80 for writing multiple choice and 2–12 for the Essay.|
|Wrong Answer Penalty||No wrong answer penalty||Yes, 1/4 point per wrong answer (except for Math Grid-in questions)|
|Sending Score History||You decide which test date scores are sent||You decide which test date scores are sent|