Frequently asked questions
When should I start studying for the SAT/ACT?
It is better to start preparing for test prep as early as possible! We recommend starting around your freshman - sophomore year, and take at least one test by the end of your sophomore year.
Don't underestimate just how busy you will be during your junior year!
How do I know whether to take the SAT or the ACT?
The current SAT includes reading, math, writing and language, and an optional essay. It’s designed to measure your reasoning skills. The ACT is composed of a total of five sections: mathematics, English, reading, science, and one essay. It’s designed to test the knowledge you have built throughout high school.
Some colleges ask students to submit their SAT scores with two SAT Subject Test scores; for the ACT, however, they just need ACT scores (without any additional subject scores). This difference is because the ACT already gives a college admissions officer insight into a student's specific academic knowledge. The SAT, on the other hand, requires additional SAT Subject Test scores to provide a full picture of the student. Still, some schools may require SAT Subject Test scores in addition to an ACT score. Be sure to research the colleges of your choice to find out their requirements.
It is recommended that you take a diagnostic test for the SAT and the ACT and figure out which one suits you better. Both offer unique testing strategies, so many students prefer one over the other. If you’re not sure how to take a diagnostic test, you’re in luck: Berkeley2 Academy offers free diagnostic testing.
Contact us to schedule a time to come in!
What are SAT Subject tests?
While the SAT is designed to measure your reasoning skills, SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your knowledge in specific subject areas, such as Literature, Chemistry, and foreign languages.
Why do I need to take SAT Subject test?
Some colleges require their applicants to take a certain number of SAT Subject Tests while others require specific types of SAT Subject Tests. Some colleges may even require SAT Subject Tests only from students who took the SAT. This is because the SAT does not have a science section, so the colleges may require a science SAT Subject Test score.
The requirements for SAT Subject Tests have a huge range depending on which schools you’re applying to. Research these requirements ahead of time so that you're not squeezing SAT Subject Tests in at the last minute.
Even if your colleges of choice don't require SAT Subject Tests, it's best to take the tests! High SAT Subject Test scores can help you stand out from other applicants as well as establish to the admission officers your level of knowledge in and dedication to a subject area. For example, if you want to apply as a history major, taking the US History and World History SAT Subject Tests is recommended.
When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?
You don't have to wait until 11th grade to take SAT Subject Tests. Instead, take them close to the end of your related high school classes so that the knowledge is as fresh as possible.
Of course, you’ll also need to consider which dates you’ll be taking the SAT. You can’t take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on the same day, but you can take up to three SAT Subject Tests at a time.
What is PSAT? Will it help or hurt my chances of college admissions?
The Preliminary SAT, shortened to PSAT, is a preparatory version of the SAT. The PSAT is only a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. It won't be used in your college admission applications.
You only take the PSAT once a year (usually in October), and typically you take it during regular school hours during 10th and 11th grade. If you get a high score on the 11th grade PSAT, you can become a National Merit Semifinalist and be qualified to receive a National Merit Scholarship.
Will taking the SAT vs. the ACT help me get admitted to a certain school or major?
A common myth is that certain colleges look more favorably towards SAT or ACT scores. However, all colleges accept BOTH the ACT and the SAT, and have openly stated they do not prefer one test over the other.
The SAT and the ACT hold the same weight to colleges. In fact, many students take both tests to see on which one they score the highest. If you do plan to take both, focus on one test at a time or otherwise you will get confused and overwhelmed with all the information.
How many times can I take the SAT or the ACT?
Technically, you can take the tests as many as you want.
However, it is not recommended that you take the tests more than 3 times. Some colleges allow you to pick and choose which scores you want to send as part of your college application, but some schools will require you to submit all your scores.
Should I take the AP test or the SAT Subject Test?
It depends on your goals.
AP scores are for gaining college course credit for certain subjects. SAT Subject Test scores are for showcasing your unique interests and knowledge on your college application.