Standardized Testing Information
For several reasons — some evaluative, some pertaining to politics and marketing — standardized test scores are extremely important criteria that most colleges and universities use when admitting a class. Some colleges and universities do not require applicants to submit standardized testing; however, most selective and highly selective U.S. colleges and universities evaluate some combination of the SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests and/or the ACT. For a comprehensive list of colleges and universities that either DO NOT require the submission of any standardized testing or have a more flexible policy, please consult the Fairtest website. To determine the standardized testing guidelines for a particular college or university, please visit that institution’s website.
Students who are strong standardized test takers and/or expect to be recruited to play collegiate athletics may be encouraged to begin taking the SAT and/or ACT in the fall of the junior year (and sometimes earlier). You may always contact a Nobles college counselor if you have questions pertaining to your child’s testing plan.
Below, find an explanation of the types of standardized tests available and guidelines for ACT and SAT Fee Waivers:
PSAT A practice test for the SAT. It is also used as the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship. Nobles hosts the PSAT for any interested member of Class II in October. The PSAT includes a Reading Test, a Writing and Language Test, and a Math Test. The PSAT is not sent to college admissions offices. PSAT scores should be seen as diagnostic indicators of skill areas that a student might need to review and practice before taking the SAT.
Pre-ACT Similar to the PSAT, Pre-ACT is a practice test for the ACT. Nobles does not currently host a Pre-ACT.
ACT Made up of four required sections (Reading, Science Reasoning, Math and English) and an optional Writing section, the ACT is offered six times annually. Since some colleges continue require the Writing section, we currently recommend that students elect to take the “optional” writing section of the ACT. Nearly every college and university accepts the ACT in lieu of the SAT; moreover, many (but not all) colleges and universities that require SAT Subjects Tests with the SAT will accept the ACT in lieu of both.
SAT Includes a Reading Test, Writing and Language Test, and a Math Test. The SAT has an optional essay component, which some colleges will require. Almost every selective college or university requires either SAT or ACT scores (see above) to be submitted as part of the application process. The SAT is offered 7 times per calendar year. In 2017, an August date will be added. Most colleges will combine the highest EBRW and Math from any sitting of the SAT.
SAT Subject Tests: In addition to the SAT or ACT, a number of selective colleges and universities also require applicants to submit results from Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, subject-based tests offered in math, the sciences, languages, history and English Literature. These SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess competency and mastery in specific disciplines.
Students may take up to three one-hour SAT Subject Tests at one sitting, although for Class IV and Class III students, we would recommend taking no more than two at a time. Students may not take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on the same day.
SAT Subject Test requirements vary from college to college and are constantly changing. Although most colleges do not require applicants to submit results from Subject Tests, some colleges require (or strongly recommend) two or three SAT Subject Test results in addition to the SAT or ACT. Many schools leave it up to the individual applicant to choose which test results to submit; other colleges (or specific programs/majors within colleges) will specify which tests’ results need to be submitted.
Please note that some schools offer students the choice of submitting SAT Subject Tests and APs in lieu of the SAT or ACT.
Whether or not a student should take Subject Tests (and which test or tests) is highly individualized. Some students are advised to take at least two SAT Subject Tests by June of the Class II year and/or October of the Class I year. Some students will not need to take any Subject Tests. Others will wait until the fall of the Class I year before taking any Subject Tests, thereby allowing time to determine whether or not Subject Test scores will be necessary. Moreover, some students will take more Subject Tests, and colleges will be happy to consider results from these as part of an application.
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams are three-hour tests that examine a student's mastery of the AP curriculum in a particular subject. Exams are currently offered in 34 subjects. Although not required by most admissions offices, AP exams are used by many college admissions officers to determine both admission and, for those students whom they admit, placement. Students who earn multiple exam grades of 3, 4 or 5 are often eligible for advanced standing and placement at some colleges and universities.