College Entrance Examinations

Students planning to further their education may be required to take college entrance examinations.  These exams include the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT I, SAT II, and ACT.  Along with the high school transcript, college entrance exams are used to predict a student's chance of success in college. 

Determining which tests are appropriate is each student's responsibility. For assistance, in deciding which tests to take, juniors should review the admissions requirements for each college they are considering. 

PSAT/NMSQT

The PSAT/NMSQT score is used to estimate performance on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT I).  This test, which is a shortened version of the SAT I, gives students and parents an idea of the student's ability to handle college work.  In addition to estimating performance, the PSAT/NMSQT is the route of entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program.  Another feature of the PSAT/NMSQT is the Student Search of the College Board.  Students who participate in the service will receive information from colleges or other post-secondary institutions about education and financial aid opportunities.

The PSAT is a mostly multiple-choice test consisting of a verbal section of 52 questions, mathematical section of 40 questions, and a wrting skills section of 39 questions.  The test takes a total of two hours and ten minutes.  Students may use a calculator for the math section.

The PSAT/NMSQT is offered in the fall at Cedar Cliff High School.  Cost is approximately $20.00 and students register for the test in the guidance office.  Although sophomores are also welcome to take the test, it is strongly recommended that juniors take advantage of this excellent opportunity.

SAT I - Reasoning Test

The SAT I  measures verbal and mathematical abilities.  Students are encouraged to take this test twice in the spring of their junior year.  The test consists of the following:

  • The test time is 3.5 hours with 3 sections in math, 3 critical reading, 1 experimental, and 2 writing skills.
  • Verbal components include sentence completion; analogies have been eliminated.  Critical reading will include a long passage and several short passages.
  • Math test questions will include multiple choice and student produced responses.  Quantitative comparisons have been eliminated.
  • Math content encompasses arithmetic, Algebra I and II, and basic geometry.
  • Writing components focus on identification, improving sentences and paragraphs, and essay writing.

Students may register for the test online at sat.org/register.   Cost of the SAT I is approximately $53.  Cedar Cliff and Red Land High Schools are two of the local test administration sites.  For test dates and all area test locations, consult the official SAT website listed above.

When securing an application, obtain the booklet Taking the SAT which contains a sample test, information on scoring, and other pertinent facts.  It is the student's responsibility to know what tests are required and the registration dates involved.

SAT II - Subject Test

Some colleges may require subject area tests for admission or placement purposes.  These are one-hour, multiple-choice tests in specific subjects.  There are 22 subject tests available and the cost varies per test.  Consult your counselor or sat.org/register for more information.

ACT- American College Testing Program

Some colleges require the ACT instead of the SAT I for college admissions and/or placement.  The ACT includes tests in English usage, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning.  Tests are locally administered at HACC and Cumberland Valley High School.  To register online, visit ACT's website atwww.actstudent.org/start.


Students who receive free or reduced lunch are eligible for a test fee waiver for the SAT and ACT.  See your grade level counselor in the Counseling Office to receive a test fee waiver.

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