College Admission Tests

College Placement Tests

These tests are usually taken during your 10th grade year and offered at your school.

PLAN: Measures academic development in preparation for the ACT and explores career options. It also lets you know if you are on track for college, points out your academic strengths and areas to improve, and connects you with more colleges interested in you.

PSAT: Measures academic development in preparation for the SAT and may qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

College Admission Tests

Most four-year colleges and universities require applicants to submit college admission test scores like those from the ACT or SAT. You must register and pay for these tests in advance. Some tests have the option to waive the registration fee. See your school counselor for more information.

The SAT and ACT are offered several times during the school year and can be taken more than once. You should plan to take these tests during the second half of your junior year; January, March, and May are good dates. Students applying to competitive colleges may want to take the SAT once in the spring of junior year and once in October of senior year. The SAT and ACT are taken outside of the regular school day, usually on a Saturday at a local high school or college. Some testing sites fill up quickly so make sure to register early.

The best way to prepare for the SAT or ACT is to study hard and read as much as you can. The testing companies themselves agree, too, that one of the best preparations is to take challenging classes. Since you are a Step Up Scholar, you are already on your way to preparing for these tests.

ACT: Includes tests for English, reading, math and science reasoning skills and an optional writing test. It takes about 3 hours 25 minutes (with the writing test) to complete the test. The ACT costs $33 plus $15 for the writing test.

SAT: Includes tests for critical reading and math reasoning abilities and writing skills. It takes about 3 hours 45 minutes to complete the test. The SAT costs $49. If English is not your first language, you may be required to take the TOEFL (, which tests the ability of nonnative speakers of English to understand and use North American English.