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What are the college admission tests, and how do they differ?

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) - Reasoning Test:

This test is the longer version of the PSAT that Juniors take in October. The PSAT served as practice and as a National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The SAT Reasoning Test consists of Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (ERW), and Math sections. The purpose of this test is to measure the writing, reading, and mathematical reasoning abilities that students develop over time, both in and out of school, which are related to successful performance in college.

SAT -Subject Tests:

These tests are hour-long exams in mathematics, US History, world languages, literature and the sciences. Students are able to self-select the exams that they take, however, they should review college requirements to ensure that they are taking the appropriate tests. (For instance, many schools will “strongly recommend” that a student take the SAT Subject Test, math – either IC or the IIC (the more difficult of the two), and then an additional test of the student’s choice. Some of the colleges that require the SAT Reasoning Test will also require the SAT Subject Tests.

American College Testing (ACT):

This exam consists of four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science Reasoning and includes an optional Writing test. The purpose of this test is to measure the skills and knowledge that have been developed since middle school.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams:

While Hanover High School does not offer Advanced Placement courses, many students take Advanced Placement (AP) Exams in a variety of subjects.

What tests should juniors take?

We strongly recommend that junior students take the PSAT in the fall, offered October 11th, 2017. Juniors may sign up for the PSAT in the counseling office between September 11th and October 6th, 2017. The benefit of doing so now is that it will give juniors the experience in taking the particular test(s). All juniors will take the SAT in March in accordance with the state testing requirement.

For those students who are considering applying to certain competitive colleges and universities – for example, the Ivy League and the University of California system – they will need to submit 2 separate SAT Subject Test scores; some schools, however, will now accept ACT’s in place of SAT Subject Tests. We strongly recommend that these students take the SAT Subject Tests in the spring



What tests should seniors take?

If a senior student did not sign up to take an entrance exam last spring, and they are planning to attend a college/university next fall, one or both of the tests (ACT, SAT) should be taken this fall, along with the SAT Subject Tests if necessary.

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

Generally, if a student is applying to a school on the East Coast or the West Coast, then they will submit their SAT. (And many times, they’ll want the SAT Subject Tests as well.) If they are applying to a school in the Midwest, they will submit their ACT score. There are numerous exceptions to this statement, as most schools state that they will accept either. Ultimately, the students themselves are responsible for knowing the test requirements of the schools to which they are applying.

Should I take the SAT or ACT more than once?

In general, it is to the student’s advantage to re-take either one or both of the tests. Why? Because colleges are looking to accept, not deny applicants. They will usually make admissions decisions based on the highest ACT composite score, or the highest SAT combined score of the Writing, Critical Reading, and Mathematics sections. In addition, seniors who are applying to schools that have published admissions criteria, usually public institutions, have a good idea of their chance for admission. As a result, they can determine the necessity of re-taking the test. ACT will allow students to pick the best test date to send, whereas SAT sends all tests taken.