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College Testing

Most colleges require that a prospective student take one of two tests. These tests are the ACT and SAT. The test your child takes will depend upon where he or she lives and the college that he or she is seeking admission to.

The ACT is more commonly given to students who live in the middle part of the United States, while the SAT is more prevalent on the coasts. Many students take both tests.


ACT Test

The most widely taken test of the college entrance exams is the ACT. The ACT evaluates and accesses a student’s academic development, as well as the students ability to do college-level work.

Nearly 1.2 million students took the ACT in 2005. The average score on the ACT is currently 20.9--out of a possible score of 36.

The ACT test is in multiple-choice form. It covers English, reading, science and mathematics. There is also an optional writing test. The writing test will measure a student’s ability in planning and writing a short essay.

The ACT takes approximately four hours to complete.

SAT Test

The SAT test consists of the Reasoning Test and the Subject Tests.

The SAT Reasoning Test measures a student’s aptitude in reading, writing and math. While the questions are multiple choice, 25 minutes is allotted for the student to write an essay. This test will give colleges a general idea of a student’s thinking skills and if he or she has the ability to solve problems.

The SAT Subject Tests are generally multiple choice, as well. Each of these tests are subject driven and one or more of them may be required for admissions into particular colleges.

The scores on the SAT can range from 200-800 on each section.

The SAT Reasoning Test takes approximately three and one half to four hours to complete. Each Subject Test takes approximately one hour to complete.

How to Prepare

There are many resources available to the student who will soon be taking the ACT or the SAT. The student can find books in his or her local library, take sample tests via the Internet, or enroll in a class which teaches the skills necessary to master the ACT and the SAT.

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