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Taking the SAT or ACT

Taking the SAT or ACT exam

When can I take the SAT and ACT?
The tests are given several times a year and you have to register about five weeks before each test.
Get test dates and registration deadlines for the SAT.
Get test dates and registration deadlines for the ACT.

Where do I take the tests?
To take the SAT or ACT, you will go to a designated test center. Test centers are usually held in local schools.
Find SAT test centers near you.
Find ACT test centers near you.

How do I register to take the SAT or ACT?

  • Register through your high school guidance counselor, or
  • Register online for the SAT or register online for the ACT
  • Register by mail. Just contact the SAT or ACT office and ask them to mail you a registration form.
    SAT office, call (609) 771-7600 (choose the prompt to request a Registration Bulletin)
    ACT office, call (319) 337-1270

How Much Does It Cost to Take the Tests?

Get more information on SAT fees

Get more information on ACT fees

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between the ACT and SAT? The ACT is a curriculum-based test. That means that the questions test a student’s knowledge about basic content areas. The ACT covers English, reading, math and science. The test is all multiple-choice. There is an optional writing section which is not scored.

    The SAT is designed to test a student's problem-solving and thinking skills. It does not directly test a student’s knowledge about reading or math. However, a student will need to know a certain amount of math and reading in order to complete the test. Science is not covered on this test. The SAT is part multiple choice and part writing.
  2. What are the PSAT and SAT Subject Tests? The PSAT is the Preliminary SAT. This test is similar to the SAT and covers critical thinking, math problem solving and writing skills. This test is typically taken in 10th grade. Students take this test as practice for taking the SAT and to determine where their strengths and weaknesses may be on the SAT. The results of this test are also used to enter a competition for a college scholarship called the National Merit Scholarship.

    The SAT Subject Tests (formally known as SAT II) measure a student's knowledge and skill in particular subject areas. Some colleges require certain SAT Subject Tests, and others use the SAT Subject Tests to place students in courses.
  3. Which test should I take? There is no one answer to this question. Some students take one test; others take both. Look at the free practice tests available online. These will help you make a decision about which test to take. Consider the following:
    - Which test results are required by the colleges you are interested in attending?
    -In which content areas do you perform well? If science is not your strength, consider looking at the SAT. If writing is not your strength, consider the ACT.
  4. Do I need to take these tests to go to college? It depends. Most colleges currently do require either the ACT or the SAT. However, there are a growing number of colleges that do not use any kind of standardized test as a way to determine if students should be accepted into the school. Other colleges may weigh high school grades, recommendations, essays and general activities as more important when evaluating a student for admission. Some colleges will waive the ACT or SAT requirement if other requirements are met, such as a certain GPA or grade point average. You do not have to take either test if you are planning to go to a community college.
  5. How much time do I need to prepare for the ACT or SAT? The amount of time a student needs to prepare for these tests varies. Note that students must sign up for the test in advance (about six weeks prior to the test). Exam preparation courses usually run about six to ten weeks in length. Students should set aside a certain amount of time each week to study or practice for these tests. It is also recommended that students schedule enough time to take at least one practice test online, at home or through a class to get familiar with the test format, content and types of questions.
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