Standardized Tests

Most colleges require (or recommend) either the American College Testing Program (ACT) or the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). When you register for these tests, you must also arrange for the scores to be sent electronically to these schools. Some require SAT Subject Tests in addition to either the SAT or ACT. Check with the individual college for its requirements. At some schools, the ACT may substitute for the SAT Subject Tests. Please make sure you are taking the tests early enough for the colleges to receive the scores by when they are needed.  Examples of what schools require:

  • Many highly competitive colleges require the ACT or the SAT plus two or three SAT Subject Tests
  • If you take the ACT plus the writing option, certain colleges waive the SAT Subject Test requirement. If you take the SAT, they may still require SAT Subject Tests
  • UVM requires either the SAT or the ACT, but no SAT Subject Tests
  • A number of schools are making tests “optional”

Please do not let financial considerations keep you from taking the tests. You may qualify for a SAT fee waiver or an ACT fee waiver. Please contact us if this is the case.



You may qualify, financially, for a waiver to take any or all of the following tests. You will need to have filled out a form and filed it with the office. Then, you will need to obtain a waiver card from Ellen Bagnato. This form will allow you to register for free, and send your scores to up to eight schools. The waiver is not valid for late registration fees, however, so plan accordingly.



  • The PSAT (a “pre” SAT) is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). This test serves several purposes:
    1. It introduces you to college entrance exams.
    2. Your scores provide a hint at what scores you MAY obtain on the SAT.
    3. It allows colleges access to your information.  You will notice that you will begin receiving college information in the mail after taking the PSAT.
    4. It is the first step to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship based on your junior year scores.


SAT Reasoning Test (the SAT): 

  • Formerly known, and sometimes still referred to, as the SAT I
  • This test or the ACT is required by many schools. Check the application requirements for more information.
  • free practice test is available online, including a 25-minute writing sample
  • Scores do not predict anything accept possible college admittance and first semester grades
  • If you can show financial need, you may apply for a fee waiver. Ask us for the form.
  • You may send scores to 4 schools for free. You may change which schools you are sending these scores to up to one week after taking the test.


SAT Subject Tests:

  • Single subject matter tests. Formerly known, and sometimes still referred to, as the SAT II. DO NOT take any SAT Subject Test without doing extra studying to prepare. For example, do not assume that, simply because you have taken a U.S. History course, you will do well on the History SAT Subject Test.  It is also recommended that you take them very soon after taking the class (like chemistry) instead of waiting 6 months later.
  • You may take three subject tests on the same date, but you can NOT take the SAT Subject Tests on the same day you take the SAT Reasoning Test.
  • Pre-plan when might be best to take them. Example: If you are taking Chemistry this semester, consider taking the Chemistry SAT Subject Test in June… but not without additional studying and preparation.
  • Subject Test Preparation is available online or through books. We have some in the Guidance office for your use.



  • This test or the ACT is required by many schools. Check the application requirements for more information.
  • There is an optional writing section that is required by a number of schools. We highly recommend you take the optional writing section.
  • You may send the scores for free to four colleges if you sign up when you take the test.
  • Test preparation is available online.


Should you take the SAT or the ACT?

The Princeton Review has a helpful comparison of the two tests and will help you decide which one to take.