College Admission Exams

  • Students applying to four year colleges will most likely have to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T., also known as S.A.T. Reasoning Test) or S.A.T. Subject Tests or American College Testing (A.C.T.) or A.C.T. Plus Writing.

    Which exams should students take?

    It depends on which colleges or universities students plan to apply.

    Students with plans to apply to a University of California (U.C.), campus, must take S.A.T. "and/or" the A.C.T. Plus Writing.
    If a student is majoring in engineering or chemistry, they must also take the S.A.T. Subject Test in Math (level 2) and a subject test in a science of the student's choice.

    Some colleges and universities will require Subject Tests. Select from areas in foreign language, literature, history, math, and science.

    Students with plans to apply to a California State University (C.S.U.) campus can take the S.A.T. and/or the A.C.T. Plus Writing.

    Students with plans to apply to private colleges/universities and/or out-of-state public universities, should check colleges' websites for testing information.

    Students with plans to enroll in a community college, and then transfer, are NOT required to take college admission exams.

    When do students take College Admission Exams

    Students begin taking college admission exams during the spring of their junior year in high school. Although most campuses accept test dates through December of senior year, I recommend testing during the spring semester of junior year because it allows ample time to focus on college applications in the fall of their senior year and it also allows time to retest.

    To avoid late fees, register about a month in before the test date.

    How to register for College Admission Exams

    Students register for the SAT Reasoning, S.A.T. Subject Tests or A.C.T. online. Please be sure to use the same name you will be using on your college applications. Fee waivers (to cover the registration costs) are available in the College Center for eligible students.

    To register for the S.A.T. or S.A.T. Subject Tests, go to College Board website
    Find the box that says "My Organizer" and sign up for a free account.

    To register for the A.C.T. Plus Writing, go to the A.C.T. website.

    About Sending Scores - Special Tips to Save $$$

    Each time students register to take a college admission exam (through the College Board or A.C.T. websites), you get the option of sending an official copy of your scores to four colleges for free. However, I recommend students wait and send them in the fall during their senior year. When that time comes, keep the following tips in mind to save money:

    If you are applying to C.S.U. campuses and you are sending S.A.T.'s on the College Board website, use the CollegeBoard Code "3594" to send your score to C.S.U. Mentor in Long Beach. C.S.U. Mentor will then share your scores with all C.S.U. campuses you apply. To send A.C.T. scores to C.S.U. campuses, send them to one campus. Once the campus receives your scores, go to C.S.U. Mentor site and locate the "A.C.T. Score Manager" to release the scores to other C.S.U. campuses.

    If you are applying to U.C. campuses, wait until the fall of senior year to send scores. When that time comes, send your S.A.T., and/or A.C.T. Plus Writing scores to one U.C. campus no later than the first week of December of senior year. The reason it is okay to send your scores to just one U.C. campus is because the U.C. Admission Processing Office automatically shares your official scores with all U.C. campuses you applied.

    Explanation of new S.A.T. for students beginning in Spring 2016

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