Standardized Testing FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - Standardized Testing
 

Q. When should I take the PSAT or Pre-ACT?

A: Wissahickon High School automatically registers and pays for all 10th graders to take the Pre-ACT and all 11th graders to take the PSAT. In order for a student to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, students must sit for the PSAT in 11th grade. Students will not be able to sit for the Pre-ACT or PSAT in any other year other than the one in which it is given.

Q. How do I register to take the SAT or ACT test?

A: Students should register on the respective websites for the SAT or ACT test. To register for an SAT, visit www.collegeboard.org. To register for an ACT, visit www.actstudent.org.

Q: Is there any financial help available for the SAT or ACT?

A: Students who participate in the free/reduced lunch program at WHS are eligible to receive two SAT fee waivers and two ACT fee waivers during high school. Students who register with a fee waiver and do not show up for the test will lose their waiver and cannot replace it at another time. Students who qualifiy for fee waivers should contact Ms. Anderson or their school counselor to get the registration code.

Q: What is the difference between the SAT and ACT?

A: These two tests are operated by different testing companies. The SAT currently tests students in Evidence-Based Critical Reading & Writing and Math. The ACT tests in Reading, English, Math, and Science with an optional essay.  To get a more in-depth view of the two tests and the main differences, visit https://blog.prepscholar.com/act-vs-sat.

Q: Should I take the SAT or ACT?

A: Colleges all over the country will accept either the SAT or ACT for admission. After reviewing the differences students may feel more strongly about one test over another.  Students can also take practice tests to see which one feels like a better fit.  To determine which test may be a better fit for you, talk to your counselor.

Q: How does the college receive my scores?

A: You may select colleges to receive your scores at the time of registration or you may log back into your account at a later time to send scores. Students receive several free score reports at registration, but will be charged at a later time. For SAT, students can choose to send all scores or use the Score Choice option to pick and choose specific test dates. Score reports are cumulative and will include all sittings of an SAT for one fee.  For ACT, students will have the option to utilize a report which shows only the highest scores in each section across multiple test sittings.

Q: What scores will the college use?

A: Most colleges will take your highest score from each section of the test over different test dates (called superscoring). While the ACT has a superscore report, the SAT does not.  Therefore, you may want the college to receive scores from more than one of your SAT test administrations. Some schools will not superscore, but will use the highest total score from one test date. You can check with each college as to their scoring policy.

Q: I receive extended time on tests in school. Will I get extended time on the SAT or ACT?

A: Not necessarily. Just because a student receives extended time (or any other accommodation) at school doesn’t mean that he/she automatically receives those accommodations on the SAT or ACT. If you would like to apply for extended time and/or any other accommodation, please see your school counselor. He/she will apply to the testing company on your behalf. This should be done by the regular registration deadline of the test you wish to take. If you plan to take both the SAT and ACT, you must apply to each testing company.  Accommodations approval from one company does not guarantee approval from the other company.  

Q. What is test optional and test free?

A:  Test optional admissions allows students to choose whether or not they want test scores included as part of their admissions review.  In order to decide, it will often help to know the average range of test scores for accepted students at a college, or even a particular major.  Test free (or sometimes called test blind) refers to an admissions review process where test scores not used for any student in the review process, even if scores are shared. While many colleges were test optional prior to Covid-19,  the majority (not all) of colleges in the US have implemented a test optional policy for the Class of 2022, and some beyond to the Class of 2023.  Students should check with their respective colleges to determine the most up-to-date testing policy.