• SAT and ACT information can be very overwhelming for students and parents. This page will hopefully clarify some items for you as well as help determine whether you need to take an SAT or ACT.

    SAT/ACT Test Dates

    SAT/ACT Practice Apps (find FREE test prep apps for Iphone, Droid, and tablets)

    Explanation of both tests:


    Click here to download a FREE Using Your Score Report e-book from ACT

    Click here for an explanation of what the ACT is. The Writing portion of the ACT is optional and includes an additional fee. Most NC public schools do not require the Writing portion. NC private schools and all out-of-state colleges vary. It is recommended that you check out the admissions page of the colleges you are interested to see if you need to take the Writing. When in doubt, register for it so you can ensure that you meet the minimum requirements. When you register for the test here, it will ask you if you want to send your scores to up to four colleges, which is included in the registration fee. Most students choose to send their scores at the time of registration because it costs $12 PER COLLEGE to have your scores sent after the test. Remember, the college's goal is to accept your highest score, not get picky about the fact that you may have a low score. The ACT tests you on what you have learned in high school, so the more academic classes you have taken, the better you are likely to do. You do NOT get points off for wrong answers on the ACT. All Juniors take the ACT for FREE in February/March of their Junior year. It is recommended that you also take the June ACT since you will have completed your school year. 

    Click here for ACT test prep

    Click here for practice ACT

    Click here for info from ELHS about the upcoming ACT given to all juniors. 

    When you get your scores back from the ACT, you will see four subject scores and a composite score, which is the average of the four scores. Most colleges will only focus on what your composite score is. However, if you scored low in one subject area, they may want you to retake the test to improve your score. Most colleges do NOT superscore the ACT, meaning that they take the best of each section and create a new composite score. 


    Click here for an explanation of what the SAT is. The SAT consists of three sections. However, when colleges advertise their average SAT admitted to the university, it is typically just the Reading and Math score combined. For example, NC State's average SAT is 1310. This is just the Reading and Math score. If you take the SAT more than once, most colleges will superscore, meaning they will take the best of each section. During registration of the SAT, you can choose up to four colleges to send your scores to. Ten days after the test, it will cost $12-13 per college to send your scores. 

    The Essay portion of the SAT is optional. Most colleges do not require it. However, you may want to take it just in case the college you are interested in requests it. Click here to see which colleges ask for the essay portion. 

    CollegeBoard has partnered with Khan Academy to offer FREE test prep for all students! Click here to start practicing! 

    Who should take the SAT/ACT?

    All students wanting to apply to 4-year colleges need to take the SAT and ACT. It is recommended that you take two of each, ideally in March and June of Junior year. Most 4-year colleges require a test score. You can do a general Google search for colleges that are test-optional. All colleges will want your test scores directly from CollegeBoard and ACT. This means that a photocopy of your test scores mailed in will not count.

    All students wanting to go to a community college do not necessarily have to take another SAT or ACT if they plan on completing an Associates Degree first. The community college will review your March ACT. If it is not high enough to be exempt from remedial classes, then they can administer the Accuplacer for free on their campus. 

    Qualify for free/reduced lunch?

    If yes, then you can receive two SAT and two ACT tests for free. Using an SAT fee waiver will also give you four college application fee waivers. Do not wait until the last day of registration to ask guidance for a waiver because it can take a few days to receive verification that you qualify. If you have not applied for free/reduced lunch, you are welcome to visit the Guidance office to pick up an application. 

    Interested in knowing which test score is better?

    Colleges do not have to have both SAT and ACT scores. You can send just your highest score if you want to. Typically, colleges look at the SAT Reading and Math seperately, but mainly look only at the ACT composite score. Click here for a conversion chart.