ACT and SAT
(PreACT and PSAT too)
These are the 2 most popular college admission tests. The content tested and skills required are very similar, but each test has its own unique feel. Colleges accept either test, with most accepting superscores. In general, we recommend a 3 month runway to prepare for your test.
The ACT features 4 sections - English, math, reading, and science - that will be scored on a 1-36 scale. The composite score will be the average of those 4 scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. The highest possible score is 36.
The SAT features a reading section - out of 40 (essentially 400) - and a writing and language section scored the same way that combine for an evidence based reading and writing (EBRW - think verbal) score on a 200-800 scale. The math - no calculator and calculator - sections are scored on a 200-800 scale. The overall score is the sum of the EBRW and math scores. The highest possible score is 1600.
Each test is offered several times a year. Most students will take a test at least twice. The right time to test will come down to your math course, your commitments outside the classroom, and the family calendar.