The Preliminary SAT (PSAT/NMSQT) provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test and gives students the chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation scholarship programs. The PSAT/NMSQT measures students’ critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills, providing students with critical feedback concerning personal strengths and weaknesses demonstrated in standardized tests.
The PSAT is divided into two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Mathematics, totaling 2 hours and 45 minutes. The scoring scale ranges from 160–760 for each of the two section scores, combining to form a composite score between 320–1520.
Students who effectively prepare for the PSAT often score higher on subsequent standardized tests required for undergraduate and graduate level admissions. Registration is NOT required for the PSAT; many public and private high schools throughout the United States administer the PSAT to 10th and 11th grade students.
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The SAT Test is a measure of critical thinking skills for college-bound high school students and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. The 3-hour (3 hours and 50 minutes including the optional essay) SAT assesses students’ abilities to analyze and solve problems and consists of four sections comprised of Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics.
Although the SAT is based on content commonly included in most high school curricula, success on this test is largely determined by mastery of test-taking skills and strategy perfected through extended exposure to each element of the test itself.
Most students take the SAT two times, but not more than three times. Individual colleges and universities will determine whether a Highest Section Score or Score Choice (a single, one-time reported score) is preferred to assess student performance. For a best Highest Section Score, students are advised to take the SAT at least twice and no more than three times. Admissions officers will take the student’s highest scores in each 800-point section to form a cumulative best score out of 1600 possible points.
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The ACT is universally accepted for college admission and has recently gained popularity among many competitive colleges and universities across the country. According to ACT, this test is a curriculum-based test and not an aptitude test; it is divided into four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science, totaling 3 hours and 25 minutes, which includes a 30-minute optional essay.
Success on the ACT is largely determined by mastery of test-taking skills and strategy perfected through extended exposure to each element of the test itself despite the test’s base in content commonly included in most high school curricula. Because students need only to report their single best ACT score, the test should be taken multiple times.
The ACT includes an optional essay that is evaluated by test graders and admissions officers but not factored into any numerical score. Each section of the ACT is scored out of 36, and an average score is taken as an overall score out of 36.
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