Standardized testing is an important factor in admissions decisions at most highly selective colleges and universities. A few institutions have downplayed the importance of scores, and some have eliminated test requirements entirely, but those institutions are in the minority. At most colleges standardized testing still matters.
We want our students to understand the testing requirements and, just as importantly, to keep testing in perspective. Students’ academic achievement and extracurricular activities are more important than test scores, both in terms of acquiring a first-rate education and in terms of enhancing their chances of admission to selective institutions.
The SAT is primarily a multiple-choice test containing verbal and math sections. It is designed to measure your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Colleges and universities use the test as a “standard” measure when evaluating your credentials during the admissions process. In general, taking the test more than three times is not necessary, though there are reasons one might choose to do so; if for some reason you are thinking of this we suggest you come and talk with your college counselor. With Score Choice, you will have the ability to send your best SAT scores from specific test dates to the colleges (you cannot break out the sub-scores and only send the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), for example). Even if a college requires that you send all of your scores, the vast majority of colleges will focus on your best EBRW score and Math score, even if they are achieved on different test days. The College Board offers online registration collegeboard.org.
ACT stands for American College Tests, a battery which combines elements of aptitude and achievement test in one single instrument. Like the SAT, the ACT helps predict academic achievement in college and serves as a standard measure by which students from diverse educational backgrounds can be compared. The ACT is a content-based multiple-choice test with four sections: English, reading comprehension, mathematics and science reasoning. Students receive a score for each section as well as a composite score ranging from 1 to 36. The ACT focuses more on grammar, punctuation and general comprehension than the SAT.
If you have taken the ACT test more than once, ACT maintains a separate record for each test date. Unlike the SAT, they will release only the record(s) from the test date(s) you designate. This protects you and ensures that you maintain control of your records. However, you may not select test sub-scores from different test dates to construct a new composite score; you must designate an entire test date record as it stands. ACT does not create new records by averaging scores from different test dates. The ACT offers online registration at act.org.