Standardized College Assessments

Looking beyond SAS

School for Advanced Studies provides support and resources for all students to prepare for full-time post-secondary study. All SAS juniors take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Tests (PSAT)/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) in the fall and use the results as a benchmark upon which to prepare for the SAT later in their junior year. In addition, many students apply to colleges or universities that ask for SAT Subject Test reports as part of the admissions package. For some students, the American College Testing (ACT) assessment offers a better means of demonstrating their readiness for college. Its format reflects a more subject based means of assessing what the student has learned in high school English, mathematics, reading, and science.


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.

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The SAT is the nation’s most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. It tests students’ knowledge of subjects that are necessary for college success: reading, writing, and mathematics. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school.

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SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge.

The SAT Subject Tests are the only national admissions tests that give you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content in specific subjects, such as English, history, mathematics, science, and various foreign languages.

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. These tests give you and colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared you are for college-level work in particular subjects. Used in combination with other background information (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a dependable measure of your academic achievement and are a good predictor of future college performance in specific subject areas.

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The ACT® test assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.

  • The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science.
  • The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

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