What is the SAT and ACT?

While the courses students take and the grades students receive are generally the most important criteria for college admission, the test results of the ACT® (administered by ACT, Inc.) or the SAT (administered by College Board) are also considered. Refer to the admission guidelines for each college or university for details.

Check to see if your high school is a testing center for the ACT and SAT, and both tests are offered on certain Saturdays throughout the year. This schedule allows students to repeat either or both tests in their junior or senior year, if necessary. A number of colleges do not require the SAT or ACT as a component of admission. Please refer to www.fairtest.org/university/optional to find these colleges.

Find Your Best Test (SAT vs. ACT)

Compare your PSAT score and Practice ACT Score

Colleges will look at either the SAT or ACT so why take both when you can test on one. Decide which test is right for you by comparing your initial PSAT score and initial Practice ACT score.

PSAT is not only helpful to prepare for the SAT, it is also just as useful to help students to decide whether to go with the ACT instead. Since many of our CUSD students completed the PSAT, it’s smart to compare your score with a practice ACT score to see if there is any clear advantage.

See and read the instructions on PSAT-and-ACT-Score-Concordance-2016 by Compass to determine if your scores show your favor SAT or ACT or both. Compass has analyzed available research and concordances to create a comparison tool in both chart (above) and table (right) forms. Source: College Board and ACT concordance for PSAT, SAT, and ACT; Compass data analysis and research.

Haven’t taken a Practice ACT test?

Students who have not yet taken a practice ACT test can take free one at home. Complete all instructions below. NOTE: Take each exam in full in one sitting for 3.5 hours (do not break the exam up in parts so you get a true sense of your score).

Download a Practice ACT

  1. Print free practice ACT Exam on ACT.org or get it HERE
  2. Read all the ACT Exam Instructions HERE
  3. After your test “Read Scoring Your Tests” and score your test

Haven’t taken a PSAT?

If you missed the PSAT and don’t want to wait for next PSAT (test is in October and receive scores in January) than consider taking a practice SAT at home. Complete all instructions below. Take each exam in full in one sitting for 3.5 hours (do not break the exam up in parts so you get a true sense of your score).

Download a Practice SAT

  1. Print Practice SAT Exam on collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat or get it HERE and pick any practice test # under resources. 
  2. Read all the SAT Exam Instructions HERE and don't forget to print the bubble answer sheet
  3. After your test score your it and compare it with your ACT score
To Prep or Not to Prep?

Compare the average admitted scores of your top-choice colleges to your own practice test score (i.e. 1200; interested in UCLA).  If your current baseline practice score (1200) is far from the school average (UCLA 1400+), then you will need some intensive prep (you are at least 200 points below average). If you are close, then maybe you only need a book, self-paced online course, or nothing at all. Plan accordingly if you need additional test prep assistance (it usually takes twice as long as you think).

Need more assistance? Schedule a meeting with a futureology counselor to determine which exam that best suits you and figure out prep options and a test prep plan and/or timeline. Please either submit your scores in the pre-meeting survey or bring with you. Register HERE.

ACT Testing Resources:
ACT                                                ACT Fees

Prep Resources:

Additional Resources:
Testing FAQs (word doc)     Testing FAQs (infographic)