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    "Put your heart, mind, intellect, & soul even to your smallest acts; this is the secret of success."
    - Swami Sivanda

    General Testing Information

    What are the college admission tests, and how do they differ?


    This exam consists of four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science Reasoning and includes an optional Writing test. The purpose of this test is to measure the skills and knowledge that have been developed since middle school. (98% of Edina’s 2017 graduates took the ACT). More information

    SAT Test:

    There are two SAT sections: Math, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, plus an optional Essay. The Essay results are reported separately from overall test scores. From start to finish, the test is three hours and 50 minutes including the essay portion. (9% of Edina's 2017 graduates took the SAT Reasoning Test). More information

    SAT Subject Tests:

    These tests are hour-long exams in mathematics, US History, world languages, literature and the sciences. Students are able to self-select the exams that they take, however, they should review college requirements to ensure that they are taking the appropriate tests. (For instance, many schools will “strongly recommend” that a student take the SAT Subject Test, math – either IC or the IIC (the more difficult of the two), and then an additional test of the student’s choice. Some of the colleges that require the SAT Reasoning Test will also require the SAT Subject Tests. More information

    What entrance tests should a junior/senior take?


    We strongly recommend that junior students take both the ACT and SAT Reasoning Test during the spring. The benefit of doing so now is that it will give juniors the experience in taking the particular test(s). Also, it is much less stressful to take the test in the spring, as the student would still have an additional opportunity to re-test in the fall if necessary. (Especially if in the summer, the student decides to apply Early Decision/Early Action to an institution with a November 1 deadline.)

    For those students who are considering applying to certain competitive colleges and universities – for example, the Ivy League and the University of California system – they will need to submit 2 separate SAT Subject Test scores; some schools, however, will now accept ACT’s in place of SAT Subject Tests. We strongly recommend that these students take the SAT Subject Tests in the spring – especially if they are currently taking an AP course, because the test aligns well time-wise with the AP test.


    What entrance test should you take? – A few Reminders

    If the ACT and/or SAT Reasoning Test were taken in the spring, should one or both be repeated?

    In general, it is to your advantage to retake either one or both of the tests. Why? Because colleges are looking to accept, not deny applicants. They will usually make admissions decisions based on the highest ACT composite score, or the highest SAT Reasoning Test combined score of the Verbal and Mathematical sections. In addition, in general, scores improve when a test is taken for a second time.

    Seniors who are applying to schools that have published admissions criteria, usually public institutions, can also get good idea of their chance for admission. As a result, they can determine the necessity of retaking the test.

    It should be noted that when requesting scores to be sent both ACT and SAT will allow you to select any test date for submission. If a school accepts both the ACT and SAT and a student does better on one type of test versus the other, he/she may choose to send only the higher of the two. (See the table on the next page.) If you are taking a test after an application deadline, we recommend that you request the test to be sent when you register for the test and note this on your application. (An application should never be late.)

    It may also be to the student’s advantage to retake a test for other reasons. Many scholarships are awarded with a student’s ACT or SAT Reasoning Test score being a piece of the criteria. The difference of one composite point on the ACT may be the difference between a scholarship and no scholarship.

    If a senior student did not sign up to take an entrance exam last spring, and they are planning to attend college/university next fall, one or both of the tests (ACT, SAT) should be taken this fall—preferably in October--along with the SAT Subject Tests if necessary. Special note: if you want to go to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and did not take the ACT or SAT last spring, you should take it in October. The University of Minnesota also requires the Writing Section of the ACT Test.

    For additional information, check out the ACT and SAT websites.

    SAT/ACT Comparison Chart

    Last updated September 14, 2020