Admissions Tests

Requirements

Four-year colleges and universities generally require that a standardized test be taken to apply for admission. Oregon community colleges do not require standardized tests, but do have their own placement tests. Each school’s website or admissions office will give you the information you need on test requirements. School counselors can also be a resource for test preparation. Students should have a planned testing date (or multiple) in their timeline.

There may be test fee waivers available at the high school to students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. See a school counselor for more information.

Test PREP

SAT Prep: SAT video lessons, apps for practicing SATs, study groups, and more

SAT Prep Khan Academy: Free and highly recommended prep course for students

ACT Prep: ACT online prep course (must create an account)

The SAT is operated by CollegeBoard and is one of the two most common exams for college admission in the United States. Proponents say it better measures a student's aptitude, testing their reasoning and verbal abilities.

  • The amount of testing days offered per year varies. For the 2019-2020 school year, there are seven total dates (four in the fall semester and three in the spring semester). The registration deadline for each test is typically one month before the testing date. S
  • Some testing locations may fill their seats before the deadline, so it's best to plan ahead and register early.

When should I take it?

  • Students should take the test by the end of their junior year of high school. If a student is a senior in high school and has not taken the SAT or the ACT, they should sign up for one as soon as possible.

  • The exam is about 3 hours long. Read the SAT website for details on arrival and departures times on test day.

  • There two core categories for the exam: (1) Reading & Writing and (2) Math. Their is an optional essay section.*

  • Every correct answer is worth points. An incorrect or blank answer is worth zero points, so there is no penalty for guessing. If you don't know an answer or are running out of time on a section, fill in a bubble for each question to give yourself a shot at some extra points.
  • Test-takers will receive a score from 200-800 on each of the two sections, with a cumulative score from 400-1600. Many 4-year schools will have an average SAT admission score listed on their website, but these are usually averages and not firm entrance requirements. If you're looking up SAT average scores, take into account that the SAT format changed in March 2016.

  • The exam costs $49.50. Fee waivers are available for students. There are added fees for late registration, rescheduling an exam, etc.

*Essay section: The current SAT has an optional essay section. This test portion will occur after your two core sections. Some schools may require the essay, so check admissions websites for details. The essay section adds an additional 50 minutes to your testing time and costs an additional $25.00.

The ACT is the other most common entrance exam for college admissions. The ACT has a science component, where the SAT does not, and has a different scoring scale. Proponents say it more accurately measures what students learned in high school.

  • The amount of testing days offered per year varies. For the 2019-2020 school year, there are seven total dates (three in the fall semester, three in the spring semester, and one in the summer). The registration deadline for each test is typically one month before the testing date.
  • Some testing locations may fill their seats before the deadline, so it's best to plan ahead and register early.

When should I take it?

  • Students should take the test by the end of their junior year of high school. If a student is a senior in high school and has not taken the SAT or the ACT, they should sign up for one as soon as possible.

  • The exam is about 3 hours and 15 minutes long. Read the ACT website for details on arrival and departures times on test day.

  • There four sections for the exam: (1) Math, (2) Science, (3), Reading, and (4) English. Their is an optional essay section.*

  • Every correct answer is worth points. An incorrect or blank answer is worth zero points, so there is no penalty for guessing. If you don't know an answer or are running out of time on a section, fill in a bubble for each question to give yourself a shot at some extra points.
  • Test-takers will receive a score from 1-36 on each section, and then these four scores are averaged to give you a final score out of 36. Many 4-year schools will have an average ACT admission score listed on their website, but these are usually averages and not firm entrance requirements.

  • The exam costs $50.50. Fee waivers are available for students. There are added fees for late registration, rescheduling an exam, etc.

*Essay section: The current ACT has an optional essay section. Some schools may require the essay, so check admissions websites for details. The essay section adds an additional 40 minutes to your testing time and costs an additional $27.00.