Testing (SAT & ACT)
Timeline for Testing
Freshman Year (Grade 9)
Relax and get the lay of the land. The only test that you might take at the end of your freshman year is an SAT Subject Test in Biology or Chemistry and Math Level 1 (if you have completed the Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II sequence).
Sophomore Year (Grade 10)
October: Orlando Science students are required to take the PSAT (and are automatically registered by the school.) A free practice PSAT is usually offered on campus.
May: Any appropriate AP exams (only if you took an AP course)
June: SAT Subject Tests if appropriate (Math Level 1 if you have completed the Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II sequence)
Summer between Sophomore & Junior Years
For those students who decide to prepare for their SAT or ACT exams, this is an excellent spot for that effort. Since grades are considerably more important than test scores, we advise students to move test preparation out of the school year and into the summer slot, thus reducing the pressure on the student during the junior year. Remember, the SAT Reasoning Test (known as "The SAT") is not a curriculum based test. Taking a prep course now may help raise the score on the PSAT to be taken in October.
Junior Year (Grade 11)
October: Orlando Science juniors are required to take the PSAT (and are automatically registered by the school.) This is exam is used to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Usually there will be a free practice PSAT offered on campus. Take your first SAT or ACT exam only if you prepared during the recently concluded summer. Fall of the junior year is generally too early to start worrying about ACT and SAT tests other than the Subject Tests. Focusing on testing too early detracts and distracts from doing schoolwork. Every study we are aware of shows that students do better on these tests when they are older, regardless of how much preparation or practice they have had.
January/February: You may take the SAT and/or ACT, but it is fine to wait until March/April to do this if the timing is more convenient.
March/April: Take the SAT and/or the ACT. For many students this will be their first crack at the exam, and it is a necessary tool to begin appropriate college counseling. We recommend taking both SAT and ACT because they are slightly different. Compare results and decide which one is better for you; then concentrate on that test. Colleges will accept either test so it is not necessary to take both over and over again. (Be sure to register for the ACT + Writing.)
May: Take the appropriate AP exams (if you took an AP class).
June: SAT Subject Tests (Math Level 1 if you have completed the Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II sequence; Math Level 2 if you have successfully negotiated pre-calculus or Calculus. Alternative in June would be the ACT + Writing.
Summer between Junior & Senior Years
For students who feel the need, this is a perfect time to take a prep or review class for the SAT or ACT. Being done with standardized testing reduces stress during the very busy senior year.
Senior Year (Grade 12)
September: Take the ACT if you are more comfortable with that than the SAT.
October: Take either the SAT or SAT Subject Tests, or the ACT. The choice depends upon where you want to go to college and your test results from your junior year. (SAT Subject Tests are more important for some highly selective schools and should take precedence, but for just about all of the other colleges, the SAT is more important.) Focus on improving your weakest test results.
November: Take the bank of tests that you didn't take in October. (Please note that this assumes you will be applying to colleges that require both the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests; if this does not apply to you, then you may not need to take any test in November)
December: Save this test date to clear up any test results that are still unsatisfactory. This is the last testing date for the Florida University System, as well as most competitive colleges.