About the Tests
THE SAT REASONING TEST
Most colleges our students will apply to will require either the SAT or the ACT. The New SAT is a three-hour test with an optional 50-minute Essay section. Because some colleges (including many that are popular with Ramaz students) will require the Essay section, you may wish to take it at least once to keep your options open. Please see your college advisor to discuss your individual plan, and check the website of each college you plan to apply to, as these requirements are still in flux. Most students will take the SAT once in the spring of junior year, generally in May, and once in the early fall of senior year, in August, October, or November.
Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the New SAT questions focus on the skills that matter most for college readiness and success. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (EBRW) asks the student to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources. These sources include informational graphics, such as tables, charts, and graphs, as well as multi-paragraph passages in the areas of literature and literary nonfiction, the humanities, science, history, and social studies, and on topics about work and career.
More details about the Reading, Writing, and Essay sections are available at:
The new Math section is divided into two portions, one permitting calculator use and the other without calculator. Most math questions will be multiple choice, but some, called "grid-ins," will ask the student to come up with the answer. The test focuses on three main areas: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math. There is significantly less geometry on the new Math section than on the prior version.
More details about the Math section are available at:
The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section and the Math section each are scored on a 200-800 scale, for a maximum score of 1600.
Most colleges allow students to self-report their SAT or ACT scores on the Common Application. Students should confirm on a college’s website if the college requires official test scores ordered directly through College Board or ACT. After choosing a college to enroll, students will submit their official test scores to that school. The default setting is that for a single fee, the College Board will submit the student's full testing history (excluding PSAT).
Students have "score choice" in submitting SAT scores to colleges; they may choose to submit scores from any SAT test date, and all sections will be reported. Most colleges will record and consider a student's highest score on each section, even from different dates (this is called "superscoring").
Please note that some colleges request and expect students to report all SAT scores and forego score choice.
It is a good idea to discuss score submission with your college advisor.
The ACT is offered with or without the Writing section. The ACT exam, lasting 2 hours and 55 minutes, consists of four multiple-choice tests that cover English rhetorical skills, math skills, reading comprehension, and the interpretation, evaluation, and problem solving skills required in the sciences.
The primary differences between the current ACT and the New SAT are:
- The ACT allows less time per question than the SAT.
- The ACT includes a science section.
- The New SAT includes a section of Math that must be solved without a calculator.
Each of the four sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) is scored on a 1-36 scale. The mean average (rounded up) of the four scores is referred to as the Composite and is the score used most by colleges. The Writing section is also graded out of 36 and is reported separately from the Composite.
Some colleges do "superscore" the ACT. For example, they will combine a higher EBRW score from one sitting with a higher Math score from another sitting. Therefore, it is essential to check with individual colleges about their policies.
If a student takes the ACT more than once, he or she must choose which date's scores to submit to colleges. If you choose multiple ACT exams, you must submit and pay for each date separately through the ACT website. Some colleges now allow students to self-report scores on the application, to be verified officially if the student enrolls at that college.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Students with disabilities who wish to apply for special testing accommodations, please click here for instructions.
- The College Board has its own website which may provide additional information. You can obtain information regarding test dates from the College Board as well.
- For help in filling out the registration form for the SAT, click here. For help in filling out the registration form for the ACT test, click here. Our high school code for both tests is the same, 333900.