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The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It’s a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • Critical reading skills
  • Math problem-solving skills
  • Writing skills

You have developed these skills over many years, both in and out of school. This test doesn’t require you to recall specific facts from your classes.The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are to:

  • Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • See how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • Enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
  • Help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
  • Receive information from colleges when you check “yes” to Student Search Service.

(Information taken from www.collegeboard.com)

All School Without Walls High School students in grades 9–11 take the PSAT/NMSQT at no cost to the student. School Counselors present information to classes about the PSAT, its importance, and how to practice for the test.School Counselors review PSAT results with students and will explain how to interpret the report to students and parents. The point of contact for the PSAT is the grade-level counselor for Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors.


The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math—subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

Taking the SAT is the first step in finding the right college for you—the place where you can further develop your skills and pursue your passions. But SAT scores are just one of many factors that colleges consider when making their admission decisions. High school grades are also very important. In fact, the combination of high school grades and SAT scores is the best predictor of your academic success in college.

The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do.

Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specify the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.

(Information taken from www.collegeboard.com)

Click here to see this year’s SAT test dates and register for the SAT or the SAT Subject Tests.

Fee waivers for the SAT and SAT Subject tests are available for students who meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • Is enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch program.
  • Is enrolled in a program for the economically disadvantaged (for example, AVID or a TRIO program such as Upward Bound).
  • Family’s annual income falls within the levels listed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for free or reduced-price lunches (See Fee Waiver link below).
  • Family receives public assistance.
  • Family lives in federally subsidized public housing.
  • Is a resident in a foster home.

Fee waivers can be obtained from the school counselor. Students who meet the eligibility requirements are entitled to up to four fee waivers; two may be used for SAT dates, and two may be used for SAT Subject Test dates. Students who qualify for SAT fee waivers may receive college application fee waivers.

Click here to see the full College Board Fee Waiver Guidelines for Families brochure.


The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Science

The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test.

ACT results are accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 minutes if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing).

The ACT is administered on six test dates within the 50 United States and District of Columbia—in September, October, December, February, April, and June. In other locations, the ACT is administered on five test dates—all of the above dates except September.

The basic registration fee includes score reports for up to four college choices, if you list valid codes when you register.

The ACT tests are prepared according to the:

  • Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education (1999).
  • Code of Professional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement, National Council on Measurement in Education (1995).
  • Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education, Joint Committee on Testing Practices (2004).

(Information taken from www.actstudent.org)

Fee waivers are available for students who meet income guidelines. See the school counselor for more information about ACT fee waivers.