College Preparatory Exams


The College Board’s SAT Reasoning Test™ is the most widely taken college admissions test. It assesses critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are important for academic success, according to the test’s sponsor, the College Board. The test is given seven times a year on set dates at test center throughout the United State and other countries. Nearly every college in the United States accepts the SAT as its required college admissions test.

The SAT has sections on critical reading, math, and writing. The critical reading section has sentence completions that require knowledge of vocabulary and logical reasoning. This section also has passages with vocabulary, comprehension, and analysis questions.

The math section has multiple-choice and open-ended algebra and plane geometry problems.

The writing section asks students to recognize and correct flaws in usage, improve paragraphs, add write an essay on a specific topic.



Similarly, the ACT, a test owned by ACT, Inc. assesses a student’s general educational development and the ability to handle college-level work. The test consists of four multiple-choice sections in English, mathematics, reading, and science. An optional writing section also asks students to plan and write a short essay.

The 45-minute English section includes 75 questions that ask students to recognize and correct faults in written passages.

The 60-minute mathematics section has 60 algebra and plane geometry questions with multiple-choice answers.

The 35-minute reading section has 40 multiple-choice vocabulary and comprehension questions about a reading passage.

The 35-minute science section has 40 multiple-choice questions based on data and reading passages.

The optional 30-minute writing test gives a writing prompt for a student essay. ACT tests are given at test centers throughout the United States and in other countries on specific dates. The majority of colleges accept ACT scores on students’ applications.


SAT & ACT: How can you help your child?

  • Help your child plan the best college-preparatory course work possible. Encourage your child to read—and be a model reader yourself!
  • Work on vocabulary improvement.
  • Help your child develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Determine with your child the best form of test preparation.
  • Help your child become familiar with the test through practice.
  • Advise your child on effective test-taking strategies.
  • Direct your child to Web sites for resources and practice materials.
  • Make sure your child is registered in time; on test day, make sure he or she is well rested, well fed, prepared, and familiar with the test site.