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Frequently Asked Questions

When should I take my AP or SAT II tests?  These tests should be taken immediately following the conclusion of an AP (or other rigosours) class. 


Which test should I take, ACT or SAT?  Colleges will accept either and prefer scores from whichever test you perform better on. Look into the requirements of the schools that interest you, and look over the differences between the tests to see if there is one test you believe you would score at a higher level. Students can also compare estimated ACT scores from the 11th grade Preliminary ACT in the fall at Southwest and estimated SAT scores from the PSAT in 10th or 11th grade. Once students know which seems to be a better fit for them, it's recommended that they do additional preparation to increase their score even more prior to taking their first official test.


When should I take the ACT or SAT?  We recommend that students take their first ACT in the winter or spring of their junior year. ACT reports that, historically, students score the highest on these test administration dates because students generally have covered the necessary information in their classes by this point. It also gives students enough time to determine if they need to test again either in spring, summer, or in fall of senior year (early September or early October).  Keep in mind that college application deadlines come quickly in the fall of a student’s senior year, and most colleges will need these scores to consider your application complete.  


When should I take the PSAT?  In order to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarships, juniors must take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year. Sophomores can also take it if they would like to have a preview of what to expect on the SAT or as practice for the PSAT in their junior year.


When should I take placement tests for community colleges?  Anytime during your senior year, but probably best in the beginning of 2nd semester. Some community colleges will exempt students from all or parts of their placement tests if the student has scored at certain levels on ACT subject area tests. 


Can I choose to send my best scores to colleges?  ACT and SAT are two different companies; therefore, you will need to contact each company individually with any requests to send additional score reports. When you register for either the ACT or SAT, you can choose to send your scores directly to colleges. ACT and SAT handle additional score requests differently:


          *ACT will forward to colleges all of your subscores from the test date that you request.  If you want your colleges to receive scores from more than one test date, you need to make additional requests for each separate test date.


          *SAT will forward ALL of your scores from ALL of your SAT I and SAT II tests to the colleges that you have selected.