Standardized Testing

PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is given each October to the juniors. You do not need to sign up for the PSAT (St. Andrew's signs up everyone). Scores from the junior year are used for National Merit Scholarship Qualification (NMSQT), and are for student, college advisor and parent reference only. These scores are not sent to colleges. The PSAT is similar in structure and content to the SAT.

 SAT is one of the two major exams associated with college admissions; the other is the ACT. Years ago, the SAT was more commonly taken by students on the east or west coasts, and the ACT was primarily taken by students in the Midwest; now there no geographic distinction, and colleges will accept either test with no preference. The SAT exam consists of reading, mathematics, and writing sections, and requires four hours to complete. It is administered six times a year on campus between October and June.  Students are responsible for registering themselves for all testing after the PSAT, including the SAT, ACT, and/or Subject Tests.
ACT (American College Test) is an alternative to the SAT and has recently overtaken the SAT as the exam most frequently taken by high school students. It is a content-based test. The ACT requires students to answer more questions in less time than the SAT, so speed is important. Research shows that the large majority of students do about the same on both tests; however, a small number will do better on the ACT or the SAT, so it is recommended students take a practice test of each to see which test is preferable, based on a score comparison and the student’s experience with the test format. 



 Test structure 
Ten-section exam: Three critical reading, three Math, three Writing, and one Experimental. The Experimental section is masked to look like a regular section.  Four-section exam: English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. An Experimental section is added to tests on certain dates only, and is only experimental. 
 Test Content 
 Math: up to basic geometry and Algebra II. Science: none; Reading: sentence completions, short and long critical reading passages, reading comprehension. Writing: an essay and questions testing grammar, usage, and word choice.  Math: up to trigonometry. Science: charts, experiments. Reading: four passages, one each of prose Fiction, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science. English: stresses grammar. The ACT Plus Writing is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing. 
 Score 
 200-800 per section, added together for a combined score. 1600 is the highest possible score. 1-36 for each subject, averaged for a composite score. A 36 is the highest possible composite score.  
 More information 
  
 


SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, multiple choice exams (offered by the College Board, the same company as the SAT) that test your knowledge of specific academic subject areas such as world languages, math, sciences, history, and English literature. Students can choose which tests to take, if any, and the tests are offered six times per year, on the same dates as the SAT, except in March when only the SAT is offered. Language subject tests include a listening section only on the November exam. Some highly selective colleges require two SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. Most colleges don’t require any subject tests. It is important to know whether you will need subject tests (and which tests you may need) as you make your testing plans, so be sure to check the admission websites of the colleges you are considering. (For example, many engineering programs will require applicants to take Math 2 and Physics or Chemistry.) Although three subject tests can be taken in one sitting, we recommend that you sit for only one or two at a time because it is difficult to be well-prepared to take three at once.