College Admissions Test


    The following information is intended to help students and parents navigate the various standardize tests students encounter during high school.  It can be confusing when some exams are mandatory and some are optional, and some require you to choose a specific subject area while others have only one option.  Additionally, some exams are required for graduation while others are required for college admissions. Your school counselor is here to help you navigate, please contact us as needed. 

    Below are some guidelines as to who typically takes these tests and why, the different standardized tests our students encounter, and links to further, more in-depth information.  

    Note: Students are to register for tests and provide the testing fees directly. Deadlines will be included in the AHS Daily Announcements. Additionally, the Counseling office cannot send out official scores. 

    Implications for College Admission

    Some schools require standardized test results for admission, while many are test-optional. Please check with each college on their "Admissions" page for their requirements.  Bear in mind, if testing is not required, they will be looking more heavily at one's high school transcript, letters of recommendation, and perhaps other unique admissions criteria. 

    Non-Standard Test Administrations

    Non-Standard Test Administrations (e.g. extended time) are available to students who have a documented learning disability and have been approved by the testing agency. If you believe you are eligible for non-standard testing, please consult with your school counselor and special education liaison if applicable. 

    Sending Your ACT/SAT Scores 

    Colleges have different requirements when it comes to sending your official ACT/SAT scores.  Many colleges require them officially from the testing agency, and want them prior to the application deadline. Other colleges accept students "self reporting" their ACT/SAT scores.  In this instance you are not required to pay to have your official scores sent, but rather you just enter the score you received into your application for admission.  If you get accepted and choose to attend, at that time you will be required to send your official score report to that one college.  If you apply to schools that allow self-reported scores, this can save you quite a bit of money!  

    College Admissions Tests

    • ACCUPLACER - The purpose of the ACCUPLACER test is to provide you with useful information about your academic skills in math, English, and reading. The results of the assessment, in conjunction with your academic background, goals, and interests, are used by academic advisors and counselors to determine your course selection. You cannot "pass" or "fail" the placement tests, but it is very important that you do your very best on these tests so you will have an accurate measure of your academic skills.

    • ACT - AMERICAN COLLEGE TESTING - This assessment is used throughout the country by college and university admission offices. Somewhat like an SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests combined, it is curriculum based and includes tests related to high school content areas: English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning.

    • ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) TESTS - These are three-hour tests administered in May each year for students seeking advanced standing in college in certain subject areas.
    • CLEP Tests - The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) gives you the opportunity to receive college credit for what you already know by earning qualifying scores on any of 34 examinations. Earn credit for knowledge you've acquired through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships.

    • PSAT/NMSQT - PSAT NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP QUALIFYING TEST - The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT Reasoning Test for students who are considering education after high school. It is generally taken in the junior year. Although some elect to take it sophomore year for additional practice, we recommend waiting until students have completed Algebra II.

    • SAT - Taken in the junior year and often taken again in the fall of the senior year, it is required for admission to many colleges. The SAT Reasoning is primarily a multiple-choice test designed to measure verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities, much like an IQ test. There is a 25-minute essay that is required.

    • TOEFL – This test measures the ability of nonnative speaker of English to use and understand English as it is spoken, written, and heard in College and University settings. There are Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing sections of the exam. The exam is approximately 4 hours long and is internet based. Colleges may require the TOEFL exam if English is not a student’s first language. 

    Typical Testing Timeline

    • Sophomore Year - Some sophomores may elect to take the PSATs in October. All sophomores will take the state mandated MCAS in the spring of tenth grade. Advanced Placement Exams are administered in May.

    • Junior Year - The PSAT/NMSQT is administered in October. Test booklets and scores returned in December provide a study guide to assist students in their preparation for the SAT in the spring. It is also the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students who wish to take the ACT in addition to or in lieu of the SAT, generally take it once, in either their junior or senior year. 

      The SAT's are usually taken in May and June of the junior year. Students who plan to apply to college as early action or early decision candidates are encouraged to take three subject tests by the end of the junior year.  Advanced Placement Exams are administered in May.

    • Senior Year - Seniors typically take the SAT's  in August, October or November, often for the second time. Advanced Placement tests are administered in May. Students who wish to take the ACT in addition to or in lieu of the SAT test, generally take it once, in either their junior or senior year.