Standardized Testing (Grades 9 – 10)
Most ninth graders will not take standardized college tests, but some will. If you think you should, you must discuss your plan with a counselor. As a tenth grader, it might make sense to try one of the “practice” standardized tests, such as the PSAT®. Again, you must discuss your plan with a counselor. Some ninth and tenth graders who are particularly advanced in an academic area might want to consider taking the SAT Subject Test® in the relevant topic. Not every college requires these one-hour subject tests. Highly selective colleges, including MIT, Cornell, BU, Carnegie Mellon, and most programs at NYU
require some SAT Subject Tests®; check individual college websites to see which places do.
Those colleges that do require SAT Subject Tests® typically require two, a handful ask for three, and some may recommend specific subjects. You will need to plan ahead for this by discussing your intent with a counselor, and obtaining the guidance and support of the teacher in the appropriate class. You should take sample tests under simulated testing conditions to prepare for the test.
Standardized Testing (Grades 11 – 12)
During junior year, you will take a number of standardized tests. Each person has different strengths, so each student’s testing plan might look a bit different. Here are some general guidelines, however, as far as what to expect:
In October, juniors will take the PSAT® (Preliminary SAT®) at their high school. If it is not being offered, see a guidance counselor and find out where it is taking place. It is highly recommended that you prepare for the PSAT® by taking the sample test included in the student bulletin. This bulletin, available in a guidance office, also explains more about the format and content of the test and has helpful tips.
Online information is available at:
This test has several purposes:
To familiarize you with the SAT® Reasoning Test, which you will take later in the year;
To expose you to the SAT® in a no-risk manner – colleges do not typically ask for PSAT® scores;
To give you a simple analysis of your strengths and weaknesses in the various critical reading, verbal, and mathematical components of the test.
When you receive a score report in December, it will include your answer choices, the correct answers, and list the type of question asked. You will also receive your test booklet, so that you may go back and look at the questions again. This report may help you identify areas in which you need to improve. The PSAT® is also used in the National Merit and Achievement
Scholarship programs®. Juniors who score in the top two percent of test-takers nationwide will be eligible to compete for scholarship funding from select colleges, companies, and organizations.