Testing is going to be some important for the rest of your life. Lets talk about what tests you have coming up:
ACT & SAT
One of the main determinants of college acceptance is standardized testing. In the American college system, they primarily focus on two national standardized tests: the ACT and the SAT.
There are some differences between the ACT and SAT. For example, the ACT has a Science section which involves deciphering graphs and trends while the SAT does not. Another difference is that the SAT has math sections where you cannot use a calculator while the ACT allows you to use your calculator on all math problems. They are both content-based tests that assess the student’s preparedness for college-level courses by testing reading, math, and English skills. You are given scores based on your performance in each section of the test, and this is used to determine your composite (overall) score.
Make sure that you choose the right test for you. A good way to decide which test you prefer is to take a full-length timed practice test. Many students take both because since they are similar, studying the topics often overlap. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36, and the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.
While you can take either standardized test any time during your high school career, students tend to take it the spring/summer of their junior year. This is to ensure they have taken the courses seen on these tests, particularly the math courses. Students can then choose to retake it during the fall of their senior year if they hope to increase their scores. The best time really is up to you and whatever factors you may have to consider such as money to pay for the tests, school deadlines, and work/extracurricular schedules.
AP Tests are the standardized tests that you take after you complete an AP course. They are used to determine the extent of what you learned and if this merits college credit. These tests consist of a multiple choice portion and a free response/essay portion.
Scores range from 1 to 5, with 4’s (well qualified) and 5s (extremely well qualified) usually being awarded college credit. Depending on the institution, 3’s (qualified) may be awarded college credit as well.
If you take an AP course, we greatly recommend you take the AP test for it. Even if you are not confident in the material, you may end up getting a score that will award college credit! Your school’s guidance counselors should have waivers for the cost if money happens to be an issue.