Skip to main content

San Jacinto Valley

Counseling » College Entrance Exams

College Entrance Exams

College Entrance Exams
As you prepare for College you will encounter multiple tests you have to take as part of the admission requirements.  Remember admission requirements vary from school to school. Consult your prospective school when deciding which test to take. Learn more about each of the tests here:
Same format as the SAT, but shorter – a test of verbal and mathematical reasoning. This test is used as a baseline score for students.  It also showcases students’ ability to handle AP Course work. Usually Taken: During your 8th grade and 9th grade years
Power Point presentation with information on PSAT and how to interpret PSAT scores
Student Guide for the PSAT 8/9
  1. Like the new SAT, students will not be penalized for wrong answers — or for guessing, essentially. Not used to determine college admissions; intended to help students prepare for the SAT. Same format as the SAT, but shorter – a test of verbal and mathematical reasoning. Usually Taken: During your junior year, though you may wish to take it sooner for practice.

    Tips and Strategies: If you do well on the PSAT (and meet additional academic requirements), you may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program (a nationally distributed merit-based scholarship). Only scores from the junior year are used to determine qualification for National Merit Program. For more information visit:
Information about the PSAT/NMSQT and how to interpret PSAT/NMSQT scores
Power Point
SAT Description:
Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three dimensions for essay. Essay results reported separately. The test is split up into three different sections. You’ll have 65 minutes to answer 52 reading questions, 35 minutes to answer 44 writing questions/tasks, 80 minutes on 58 math questions and 50 minutes for the essay.

Usually Taken: Spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year (or both, if you want a practice run).

Tips and Strategies: It used to be that the SAT carries a “wrong answer penalty.” If you guessed right, you gained a point; if you guessed wrong, you were penalized. Now, you can guess without risking your SAT You can retake the test to improve your score, but your college will send all available scores to your prospective college, including the results of tests you have taken previously. The SAT does not allow students to send only their latest and/or best scores. For more information visit: 
SAT Subject Tests
One-hour test that assesses mastery of a particular field of study. Up to three tests can be required for admissions. Some schools use the SATII for course placement; others don’t require it at all. Tests are offered in five subject areas: English, Math, History, Science and Foreign Language. Scores are based on an 800-point scale.

Usually Taken:
 Soon after you have finished the relevant course work (can be as early as freshman or sophomore year, depending on the school’s curriculum and the student’s progress).

Tips and Strategies: Entrance requirements vary from college to college. Consult your guidance counselor or college admissions representative to determine which tests you should take. For more information visit: 
Three-hour exam; 215 questions; measures achievement in English, math, reading and science. The ACTPlus includes an optional 40-minute writing test. Scores on each section are averaged to create a composite score. Perfect score is 36. Students in the Midwest and South generally take the ACT.

Usually Taken: Spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year (or both, if you want a practice run).

Tips and Strategies: Your score is based on the number of correct answers ONLY. If you aren’t sure, take a guess – it can’t hurt you and it could help. Harder questions are worth the same amount as easy ones. Answer the easy questions first and leave the more time-consuming questions till the end. For more information visit:
SAT, ACT, Personal Statements Support Dates:
To further support students with their College Entrance Exams, SJVA has specific dates targeting mathematics and English support. See attached file for these dates.